Casinos and Orange not a good mix, say Gaming Commissioners

All of Orange County’s proposals tossed

By Kathy Kahn

unnamed (1)Orange County’s millions of Woodbury Common shoppers will still be making a pit stop at Yonkers Raceway and Casino, thanks to a decision by the New York State Gaming Commission to site one gambling facility in the Hudson Valley—and all contenders in Orange finishing out of the money.

The NYS Gaming Commission on December 17 released its decision to put one casino in Sullivan: Empire Resorts’ proposed Montreign Casino/Resort facility on the former Concord Hotel site in the Town of Thompson; one in the Capital Region’s Schenectady; and a third in the Southern Tier’s Town of Tyre, accessible to both the city of Rochester and the Finger Lakes area. The fourth casino license that could have been issued was withheld and will more than likely remain so.

Casino fever was the “breaking news” all summer in Orange, with reams of interviews, articles and speculation while hopefuls gathering resumes, opened offices and collected resumes from job seekers, but all for naught.

For the Rooney family, owners of Yonkers Raceway/Empire City Casino, it was the best Christmas gift they could receive. After spending mega-millions to upgrade Yonkers Racetrack and Empire City, a casino in Orange would have been economic destruction for the family-owned organization.


“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” said Timothy Rooney, Jr. , counsel for Empire City and Yonkers Raceway. “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.”

Maureen Halahan, president of the Orange County Partnership, was gracious, congratulating Sullivan County on its decades-long fight for casino gambling. “The Gaming Facility Location Board struggled with difficult choices and we appreciate the opportunity given to Orange County to make our case.”

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