Seneca County Board of Supervisors Votes in Support of Casino
Posted on February 3rd, 2016
Last week, the Seneca County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in support of the controversial Lago Resort & Casino planned for Tyre, near the Rt. 414 Thruway exit. The casino plans have inspired three lawsuits by local citizens; anti-casino citizens’ group Casino Free Tyre has contended that the town approved Lago’s site plan without proper review and without the backing of local residents. Although a judge halted work on the casino site in response to the group’s allegation that the environmental review was not done properly, Wilmot Corporation, which owns Lago, won the suit on appeal. On Dec. 21 the state Gaming Commission awarded a casino license to Lago, which is resuming construction. Thomas Wilmot, the Rochester magnate behind Lago, announced plans to open the facility in 2017.
Other opponents of the casino were the Oneida Indian Nation, which owns Turning Stone casino in Verona. In a series of TV spots, the Turning Stone owners said that Lago would draw customers away from existing, nearby casinos. Turning Stone and Vernon Downs and Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack all operate within two hours’ drive of the proposed Lago casino.
On Dec. 28, the board of supervisors of Seneca County fired back. Their resolution states, in part:
“WHEREAS, litigants challenging the Casino Project are funded by parties with interests outside of Seneca County (Finger Lakes Raceway owned by Delaware North out of Buffalo and the Oneida Nation/Turning Stone from Oneida County) and have no obligation to Seneca County or its residents and
WHEREAS, Indian Gaming operations have enjoyed over 20 years without payments to state or local governments yet now voluntarily pay over $50,000,000 per year to counties east of Seneca County without benefit to Seneca County and are now pursuing retail and other developments that will negatively impact Seneca County..” the board “reaffirms its unwavering support” for Lago.
The resolution concludes with a call for a Gaming Corridor Marketing effort, “Bringing together those companies involved in gaming and those communities with their economy and tax base now relying or will be relying on gaming revenues, to find mutually beneficial ways to promote upstate tourism and upstate gaming from Albany to Buffalo, Chautauqua to Sullivan County and from the Counties of Broome and Tioga all the way to the Canadian border – it is time to stop spending money on lawsuits and to start turning efforts to marketing the great Upstate New York area.”
Casino Free Tyre did not respond to questions.