Bidding War: The Hudson Valley and Catskill Regions

The counties of Sullivan and Ulster in the Catskills have been economically depressed for decades, and would-be casino developers hope a destination resort and casino could help restore the region’s former status as a vacation destination. They believe that two casinos in the region would have a synergistic effect on each other, while casinos in the Capital Region would have little to no effect on their business. They warn, however, that if even a single casino license is granted in the Hudson Valley’s Orange County to the south, their business plans will no longer be viable, in part because they think banks would be leery of lending to them in that event. Experts say that as far as sheer revenue for the state is concerned, Orange County is the most sensible location because of its proximity to New York City’s massive, largely untapped gambling market. But while Orange County also boasts some of the poorest municipalities in the state—such as Newburgh, which is in dire need of economic stimulus—those seeking to build casinos in the Catskills warn that any casino placed there would command nearly the entire New York City customer base. For them, a new casino in Orange County would mean no casinos in the Catskills.


  

Hudson Valley Casino & Resort
Orange County

The Basics

Location: Town of Newburgh, near the intersection of I-87 and I-84 and several miles from Stewart International Airport
Applicants: Hudson Valley Casino and Resort, LLC, an affiliate of Rush Street Gaming, LLC, and Saratoga Casino and Raceway
Operator: Neil Bluhm, chairman of Rush Street Gaming

Operator Projections

Investment: $670 million
Financing: “Highly confident” letters from six banks (no commitments)
Projected Annual Gaming Revenue: $538 million
Employment:
Construction: 2,500 jobs
Permanent: 2,500 direct jobs
Annual Gaming Taxes and Fees: $244 million to state and local coffers

 

The Proposal:

Rush Street Gaming and Saratoga Casino and Raceway are involved in separate bids in the Capital Region, but they have also come together with a separate plan to build a much larger casino in the Town of Newburgh. The developers highlight the struggles of the adjacent City of Newburgh and surrounding municipalities, where well over 20 percent of residents live below the poverty line. The plan has the backing of the city’s mayor, and the Town of Newburgh has even entered into a deal with the neighboring city to transfer 15 percent of its gaming tax revenue to address public safety and crime reduction. Furthermore, the developers argue, the proposed location is some 20 miles north of Route 17—the main artery to the Catskills from New York City—meaning the location should not cannibalize a casino in Sullivan or Ulster Counties as much as if it were located further south. The casino will feature a 300-room four-star hotel and 150,000 square feet of gaming space (the number of slots and tables is unclear), as well as restaurants, a spa, multiple entertainment venues, convention facilities and retail stores.


  

Resorts World Hudson Valley
Orange County

The Basics

Location: Town of Montgomery, near the intersections of I-87, I-84 and Routes 747 and 17K, just under 90 minutes from New York City and near the City of Newburgh
Applicant: Genting Group
Operator: Genting Americas

Operator Projections

Investment: $1 billion
Financing: Genting Malaysia Berhad, of which Resorts World Hudson Valley is a wholly owned subsidiary, will fully fund the project; no third party financing
Annual Gaming Revenue:
N/A
Employment:
Construction: 1,900 jobs
Permanent: 3,000 direct jobs
Annual Gaming Taxes and Fees:
$227 million to the state

 

The Proposal:

Malaysian gaming giant Genting, which already owns Resorts World New York City at the Aqueduct Raceway in Queens, has two proposals in Orange County—the one in Montgomery is further north from New York City than the other, and is billed as an option to appeal to the Gaming Facility Location Board: The communities in northern Orange County are more distressed than those further south, and one of the ostensible goals of the 2013 Upstate NY Gaming Economic Development Act is to boost flagging local economies. Genting boasts average salaries of $80,000 at its Queens casino, and promises to offer comparable living wages to its workers in Orange County as well. The company also claims that over 30 percent of its goods and services are sourced from minority- and women-owned businesses, and offers a multilingual problem-gaming program. The 370-acre site would place an emphasis on ecotourism—wetlands would be maintained on the property and guided nature tours provided. Building materials would be locally sourced. The casino would feature 3,500 slots and 290 tables, 1,304 hotel rooms and dining, spa and entertainment facilities.


  

The Live! Hotel & Casino New York
Orange County

The Basics

Location: Village of South Blooming Grove, just under 60 miles from New York City near the intersection of I-87 and Route 17, and 9 miles from Woodbury Common Premium Outlets
Applicants: OCCR Enterprises, LLC, a joint venture of the Cordish Companies and Penn National Gaming
Operators: 50/50 joint venture between the applicants

Operator Projections

Investment: $750 million
Financing: $1.25 billion credit agreement among Penn National Gaming, Inc. (borrower), Bank of America (lender) and other parties
Projected Annual Gaming Revenue:
$687–780 million
Employment:
Construction: 2,800 jobs
Permanent: 3,264 direct jobs, 1,444 part-time
Annual Gaming Taxes and Fees:
$147 million to the state

 

The Proposal:

The Live! is the paradigm of the type of casino that would-be developers in the Catskills argue would make their proposals futile. It would be located off Route 17 shortly after it splits from I-87, which would in theory lasso the flow of New York City gamblers headed along the main route to Sullivan and Ulster Counties. The applicants, who own Maryland Live!, argue that placing a large casino at this location makes the most sense in terms of generating revenue for the state: New York City has an untapped gambling market valued in the billions by most estimates, and market research shows that gamblers habitually weigh the proximity of the casino over other factors. The Live! will also seek to attract New Yorkers who currently spend their time at Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, and it will cater to an upscale customer more concerned with gaming and high quality hospitality than carnival rides or outdoor sports. As such it will feature VIP gaming rooms and a 320-room five-star hotel. There will be over 3,000 slot machines, 270 table games, and a 3000-person entertainment venue. The Live! has also tapped Brooklyn pizzeria Fornino and flea and food market Smorgasburg to locate there.


  

Grand Hudson Resort & Casino
Orange County

The Basics

Location: Stewart International Airport in the Town of New Windsor, near the intersection of I-87 and I-84 and 5 miles west of Newburgh and 60 miles north of New York City
Applicant: New Windsor Casino & Resort, LLC, an affiliate of Greenetrack, Inc.
Operator: Full House Resorts, Inc.

Operator Projections

Investment: $700 million
Financing: N/A
Projected Annual Gaming Revenue:
$568 million
Employment:
Construction: 1,800 jobs
Permanent: 2,300 direct jobs
Annual Gaming Taxes and Fees:
$181 million to New York State

 

The Proposal:

Luther “Nat” Winn Jr., the Alabama-based CEO of Greenetrack, Inc., would build a 450,000-square-foot casino on the abandoned portions of the underused Stewart International Airport with the intention of drawing customers via air and boosting activity in the surrounding communities of New Windsor and Newburgh, which is down on its luck economically. Currently no real estate taxes are paid on much of the disused land around Stewart. The casino would have 3,000 slot machines and 100 table games, along with restaurants and lounges, a conference center and a 350-room hotel. Greenetrack will also build a sports and aquatics center with an Olympic-size pool, which it says will be for the benefit of the surrounding community. Winn plays up the time he spent in the Catskills as a teenager washing dishes at area hotels. He also has more mature ties to the New York region—he sits on the board of Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. Greenetrack hopes to draw gamblers from New York City, Connecticut and New Jersey.


  

Mohegan Sun at the Concord
Sullivan County

The Basics

Location: Near Kiamesha Lake, a few miles from the Village of Monticello off Route 17 (near I-84), 90 miles northwest of New York City and about 25 miles to the New Jersey and Pennsylvania borders
Applicants: Mohegan Resorts New York, LLC; The Cappelli Concord, LLC
Operator: Mohegan New York Gaming, LLC, an affiliate of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority

Operator Projections

Investment: $500 million
Financing: N/A
Annual Gaming Revenue:
$255–321 million
Employment:
Construction: 3,000 jobs
Permanent: 1,200 direct jobs
Annual Gaming Taxes and Fees:
$84 million to New York State

 

The Proposal:

Mohegan Sun seeks to capitalize on the property’s status as a formerly pre-eminent resort—the Concord Hotel was once one of the region’s largest hotels, but it has been closed since 1998. The developers hope to again lure vacationers to this 118-acre tract in the Borscht Belt by creating an air of nostalgia for an area that was once a premier vacation and entertainment destination. The casino would feature 1,800 slot machines and 50 table games—including a VIP gaming area—as well as seven restaurants and a 252-room hotel. The site is adjacent to the classic Monster Golf Club. The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority plans to capitalize on its extensive regional customer database, player rewards programs and high brand recognition in the New York City metropolitan area. The Mohegan Tribe has already spent $100 million on predevelopment, according to Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority CEO Mitchell Etess, and expects the casino to be fully operational within 18 months of receiving a license. But if a casino is placed in Orange County, the developers contend, they will not be able to go forward with their plans.


  

The Nevele
Ulster County

The Basics

Location: Town of Wawarsing, just outside the Village of Ellenville, near the junction of Routes 209 and 52
Applicant: Nevele-R, LLC
Developers and Operators: Angelique Brunner, CEO of Nevele Resort, Casino & Spa, and COO Kathy Meci

Operator Projections

Investment: $582–640 million
Financing: Combination of developer equity and expected debt financing from Deutsch Bank
Annual Gaming Revenue:
N/A
Employment:
Construction: 1,000 jobs
Permanent: 2,250-2,440 direct jobs, 1,000 indirect jobs
Annual Gaming Taxes and Fees:
$99 million to New York State (figure includes income and sales taxes), $9.8 million to Ulster County (includes income and occupancy taxes) and $5.2 million to the Town of Wawarsing in the first year of operation

 

The Proposal:

The Nevele Grande Resort was once the anchor resort in the Eastern Catskills, but it closed in 2009 after 106 years in operation. Like much of the region, Ellenville was built on tourism and has fallen on hard times as the area’s popularity as a vacation destination dipped. The developers hope to attract customers to the 500-acre property not just for the gambling, but also for outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking and horseback riding. A now-defunct golf course will be revitalized. The casino itself will feature 2,000 slot machines and 80 table games, along with a nightclub, several restaurants and a steakhouse, but the aesthetic will be more natural than flashy, in keeping with the rugged surroundings. The developers claim the project has widespread support, having received 57 letters of support from seven counties, according to the developers. It is the only bid in Ulster County, and the applicants agree with their Sullivan County counterparts—Mohegan Sun at the Concord—that while two casinos in the Catskills would be welcome, one in Orange County would probably ruin any chances of securing financing from the banks.


  

Montreign Resort and Casino
Sullivan County

The Basics

Location: Town of Thompson, near Kiamesha Lake off Route 17 (near I-84), 90 miles northwest of New York City and about 25 miles to the New Jersey and Pennsylvania borders
Applicant: Montreign Operating Company, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Empire Resorts, Inc.; EPR Properties
Operator: Same as applicant

Operator Projections

Investment: $1 billion
Financing: Equity from EPR Properties; $150 million public rights offering backed by Kien Huat Realty III Limited (an investment company that owns 62 percent of Empire’s common stock); commitment letter from Credit Suisse to raise $478 million
Annual Gaming Revenue:
N/A
Employment:
Construction: 4,000 jobs
Permanent: 3,000 direct and indirect jobs
Annual Gaming Taxes and Fees:
$109 million to New York State

 

The Proposal:

Empire Resorts, Inc. proposes a massive resort complex called the Adelaar on the site of the former Concord Hotel (and on land adjacent to the Mohegan Sun bid), of which the Montreign Resort and Casino will be the centerpiece. They would immediately develop 700 acres of a sprawling 1,700-acre piece of land to include an indoor, family-centric waterpark with non-gaming lodging and amenities, a 200,000-square-foot entertainment village, opportunities for tubing, skiing, riding ziplines—and the list goes on. The company also proposes to redesign and lease the nearby Monster Golf Course.

Empire Resorts is the only applicant that already owns a casino in Sullivan County—The Monticello Raceway—which the company argues gives it the upper hand in evaluating the needs of the market and it has worked out two contingency plans involving smaller investments should its ultimate proposal prove too unwieldy: the first alternative should another casino license be awarded in Dutchess or northern Orange County, and the smallest proposal if a casino is also built in southern Orange County a short drive from New York City. The applicants claim no changes would be made to their $1 billion dollar proposal should a second casino be placed in the Catskills, and that their project is shovel-ready and would open with 24 months.


  

Caesars New York
Orange County

The Basics

Location: Town of Woodbury, 53 miles from New York City near the intersection of I-87 and Route 17, with easy access to the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets
Applicant: Caesars Growth Partners, LLC, a joint venture between Caesars Acquisition Co. and Caesars Entertainment Corporation
Operator: Same as applicant

Operator Projections

Investment: $880 million
Financing: “Highly confident” letters from four banks (no commitments)
Projected Annual Gaming Revenue:
$750 million
Employment:
Construction: 1,500 jobs
Permanent: 3,000 direct jobs
Annual Gaming Taxes and Fees:
$234 million to the state

 

The Proposal:

Caesars Entertainment is vying for a location only a couple of miles from The Live! and is similarly looking to capture the New York City market to the fullest extent possible, given the geographic limitations of the governor’s gaming act. Caesars argues it can rely on its brand recognition (53 properties in seven countries and 100 million annual customers) to attract international gamers as well. The casino will feature 300 luxury hotel rooms, suites and villas, along with 2,580 slots and 190 table games, a spa, convention center and entertainment venues. Caesars enjoys a slightly closer proximity to the highly popular Woodbury Commons shopping outlets than The Live! does. But the company has also seen several of its casinos shut their doors in recent years, and considerable debt is expected to lead to a major debt restructuring in the near future.


  

Sterling Forest Resort & Casino
Orange County

The Basics 

Location: Town of Tuxedo, some 44 miles northwest of New York City on the edge of Sterling Forest State Park
Applicant: Genting Group
Operator: Genting Americas

Operator Projections 

Investment: $1.5 billion
Financing: Genting Malaysia Berhad, of which Sterling Forest Casino & Resort is a wholly owned subsidiary, will fully fund the project; no third party financing 
Projected Annual Gaming Revenue:
N/A
Employment:
Construction: N/A
Permanent: N/A
Annual Gaming Taxes and Fees:
$238 million to the state, $37 million a year to local school districts

 

The Proposal:

Genting’s second and preferred bid is by far the most expensive proposal before the state. The resort and casino will sit on a 238-acre site on the edge of 23,000- acre Sterling Forest State Park and will combine ecotourism and an environmental sensibility with posh accommodations appealing to both regional and international patrons. During its presentation to the state Gaming Board, Genting emphasized its targeting of the Asian, especially Chinese, markets in particular—Asian high rollers have reinvigorated the Las Vegas market with an affinity for Baccarat, and Genting plans to create a destination resort that will attract jet setters to venture the short distance north from New York City. Company officials have even touted their fleet of 10 private jets, which they can use to attract high rollers. Developers also called the city “the most significant opportunity in the United States” in terms of untapped gaming potential. The company will even finance the construction of a new Thruway interchange to expedite traffic in the area.

Calling it a “true environmental casino” and the “next big national park hotel,” developers say they will build a new wastewater treatment system that will mitigate the problems with dirty storm water around the Town of Tuxedo and surrounding environs. They will also restore the natural marshland existent on the property, and 10 percent of the resort’s power will be generated from solar panels. Several environmental groups have come out in opposition to the proposal, but Genting notes that the property was already previously developed and has been designated by the Town of Tuxedo for further development. Company officials say they have been open and have engaged with all concerned parties and are continuing an ongoing dialogue with groups like the National Resources Defense Council to see if they can address their concerns. (The plan to restore the wetlands supposedly stemmed from talks with environmentalists.) Genting is also offering to pay a one-time $450 million licensing fee to the state—$380 million more than the minimum required—and $30 million annually above and beyond its other commitments for improvements to state parks.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.