When Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona opened in 1993, it was the only land-based casino in the entire state of New York.
By this time next year, there will be a total of seven casinos and casino-like gaming facilities along an 100-mile stretch of the thruway, between the Greater Rochester area and Utica — with several others farther south, east and west.
The increasing number of these facilities is what some analysts blame for the financial shortcomings of the three new upstate Vegas-style casinos that opened this year. Del Lago in Seneca County, Rivers in Schenectady, and Tioga Downs in the Southern Tier are all estimated to produce far less in slot machine and table game revenue in their first year than they projected when they applied for licenses in 2014.
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According to a spokesman for the New York State Gaming Commission, the state will wait to see third-year revenue results, saying those will provide a better metric for analysis, since the casinos will be more established in the region and marketplace.
But that’s not a convincing argument for Gary Greenberg, minority owner of Vernon Downs, the racino, which is a racetrack with video lottery terminals in Oneida County.
“These new casinos, you know the first year, they’re new, so in the industry when you open, new people run to it. It’s like anything else. They’re doing business, but they’re not doing what they stated they would do,” Greenberg said.