IAG JANUARY 2015 - page 34

inside
asiangaming
January2015
34
Feature
Vegas and Atlantic City. In the Northeast, the nation’s most
competitive market, dozens of casinos or slot parlors operate
or are opening, in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode
Island—and soonMassachusetts—as well as Atlantic City, where
four of the city’s 12 casinos have closed this year and it is feared
that a fifth will soon be turning out the lights. Connecticut’s two
tribal casinos, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, have also fallen on
hard times, stricken in the years since the Great Recession by
overexpansion and layoffs.
“New York City aside, after all the current casino development
commitments aremet in [theNortheast], I think we will be close to
a zero-sum game,” Mr Rittvo says. “Any gaming expansion beyond
these projects in the regionwill lead to amarket share shift, not real
growth.”
NEWYORKSTATEOFMIND
Concerns about saturation have figured prominently in the thinking
of the Gaming Facility Location Board charged with recommending
where to site the four new Las Vegas-scale casinos authorized by
New York’s Legislature and backed by Gov. AndrewM. Cuomo as
an economic development tool. The resorts, which would include
boutique hotels, spas, luxury restaurants, golf courses and other
amenities, are expected to provide thousands of jobs in distressed
partsof thestateand, according tooneestimate, generatemore than
$300million innew tax revenues.
New York is already home to five tribal casinos upstate and
nine slot parlors at racetracks, and last month, the board chose
to recommend only three of the four projects to give those chosen
a better chance of success. It rejected six applications in Orange
County, the region closest to New York City, in favor of a single
resort in the Catskills, a long-faded holiday destination for city
dwellers in themore economically needy county of Sullivandirectly
to the north. Several major developers, including a US subsidiary
ofMalaysia-based casino giant GentingGroup, alongwith Caesars
Entertainment, Hard Rock and Mohegan Sun, were shut out. In
all, 16 applicants vied for licenses. The other two approvals were
granted to projects near the state capital of Albany in the upper
HudsonRiver Valley and in the center of the state ina region known
as the Finger Lakes.
“For 50 years, the Sullivan County Catskills have sought gaming
asaway togrowour tourism-basedeconomy,” saidstateSen. John J.
Bonacic, a Republicanwhose district includesmuch of the Catskills.
“Andnow thatmoment is here.”
Genting, however,mayhavebeen thebiggestwinner after all. The
resort conglomerate controls four publicly traded companies, three
of themwithgamingportfoliosstretching fromSoutheastAsia to the
UK. Plans also call for a multibillion-dollar resort on the Las Vegas
Strip. A US subsidiary operates the sole gambling hall inNew York
Anartist renderingof the completed
MGMResorts
casinoproject in the
westernMassachusetts cityof Springfield
Theother casinodevelopmenthotbed
in theNortheast isMassachusetts, but
unlikeNewYork, thegamingdevelopment
players in thismarkethavebeen largely
settled.TheMassachusettsGaming
Commissionhasalreadyawarded twoof
its threeallowed licenses.
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