Last week’s announcement that six applications for casinos in Orange County, New York were turned down by the New York State Gaming Commission sparked strong reactions from Westchester business and political leaders. Not surprisingly, most of it was positive, as some local businesses felt that a casino in nearby Orange County would be detrimental to the health of Yonkers’ Empire City Casino.
Here’s what some of Westchester’s business and political leaders had to say about the decision:
Timothy J. Rooney, Chief Counsel of Empire City Casino:
“The Gaming Facility Location Board conducted a thorough review of applications for casino licenses and wisely recommended that Orange County not be a site for a casino in the Catskill region. We applaud them for their work and ultimate determination that Sullivan County represents the region’s best hope for economic revitalization through casino and resort development. We thank our elected representatives, businesses and community groups who made a strong and convincing case that any effort to site a new casino not jeopardize the nearly 1400 jobs and billions of dollars Empire City provides for education and other government services. While the Committee’s decision to defer on the fourth license is of concern, we believe that the arguments against siting a casino in Orange County and the compelling reasons one was rejected will remain.”
John Ravitz, Executive Vice President and COO of The Business Council of Westchester:
“The New York State Gaming Commission’s decision not to approve a license for a casino in Orange County is the right one for New York. After many hearings and a lot of lobbying from the business community, the Gaming Commission stayed with the intent of the law and rightly did not view Orange County as a distressed community. Doing so could have cannibalized an already successful business in Yonkers that employs thousands of people and generates hundreds of millions of dollars for New York and would have jeopardized other potential casinos just north of Orange County.”
Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer of Yonkers:
“I am pleased the Gaming Facility Location Board heard our voices and did not authorize a full-scale gaming casino in Orange County and instead selected one for Sullivan County, as we had urged. I applaud the Board’s careful examination of the facts and wise recommendations. They will help Yonkers, Westchester County and the downstate region continue to prosper, while expanding gaming to New York’s struggling upstate counties.”