The Genting Group has revealed its plans for a full-blown casino in New York, and as expected, it joins a growing list of would-be casino operators who want to come as close to New York City as legally possible.
Genting on April 28 said it is seeking to obtain a license from the state to construct a casino on a 238-acre site that is now home to a ski mountain known as Tuxedo Ridge in the town of Tuxedo in Orange County.
It joins the list of 21 other casino sites scattered around upstate—some still unknown precisely where they'd be located—that were divulged to state officials last week with the payment of a $1 million casino application fee, thereby getting them entrance to a mandatory bidders' conference this week in Albany.
Industry insiders have said Genting, which operates Resorts World at Aqueduct Racetrack had little choice but to get into the casino bidding wars in order to try to get one of the licenses located closer to New York City as a way to protect its revenue stream at the Queens racetrack site.
Unlike most of the other development plans, Genting declined to say how much it would spend on the proposed casino site, which would feature everything from two hotels to money for the state to build a new interchange on the New York State Thruway near its proposed casino site. The state next month will be setting minimum development price tags for the casino operators based, possibly, on which county they plan to locate.
Genting, one of the world's fastest-growing casino conglomerates, said it has no plans to partner with any other groups as part of its Orange County casino plan. Other casino plans floated so far have partners who include everyone from Caesars and Penn National to Indian tribes, hedge funds, and the Capital District Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., a publicly owned entity.
Voters last November OK'd up to seven new commercial casinos in the state which, unlike track-based facilities that offer video lottery terminals, will be able to have real slot machines and table games. For the time being, the first four casinos is being limited to three geographic areas of the state: Catskills/Mid-Hudson Valley, Albany/Saratoga Springs region, and a large chunk of land between the southern tier part of New York near Binghamton to a narrow slice of land east of Rochester.
Until recently, the public rhetoric from most state officials had been that two of the casinos would likely be located in the Catskills counties of Sullivan and Ulster as a way to help revive the tourism industry of the once-thriving area. But in the past several weeks, a slew of developers, include Caesars Entertainment, has put forth plans to build casinos in Orange County, which, at some sites, would be just 50 miles from Manhattan. New York City is not supposed to be eligible to get a casino for at least seven years.
Genting's Sterling Forest Resort would be built on property that has been slowing decaying since it was opened as Sterling Forest Gardens in 1958. Genting plans to renovate the old gardens, add several year-round and seasonal attractions and, like others, build some sort of adventure-type park catering to families. It would also keep the spot's ski center.
Like the other projects, the Genting plan needs to show local support, such as backing from the town's board. It also needs to win approval, based on a complex Request for Application recently issued by the state Gaming Commission, from New York state; the winning plans from developers—whose applications are due by the end of June—are expected to be named sometime this fall.