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Westchester Political, Business Leaders Applaud State Casino Decision

Yonkers Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer addressing a crowd about the Orange County casino proposal in October. Photo Credit: File photo
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This story has been updated.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The lone casino proposal approved for downstate New York region will be in Sullivan County in the town of Thompson, the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board announced on Wednesday afternoon, in a move applauded by Westchester County political and business leaders.

Proposals for resort-style casinos in Orange or Ulster County were rejected.

The Sullivan casino, Montreign, will be constructed from scratch in a project by Monticello Raceway-operator Empire Resorts.

Schenectady and the Town of Tyre in Seneca County were also awarded casino projects, with the board deferring on a possible fourth.

Westchester County politicians urged for the rejection of proposals to construct a full-scale casino in Orange County , which is approximately an hour's drive from Yonkers' Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway.

"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," Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer of Yonkers said. "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."

Timothy J. Rooney, Jr., chief counsel of Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway expressed appreciation for the support of local representations.

“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," Rooney said. "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 1,400 jobs and billions of dollars Empire City provides for education and other government services."

Business Council of Westchester Executive Vice President and COO John Ravitz also was pleased with the announcement.

"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," Ravitz said. "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.”

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