Casino cost: $250M

FLORIDA – Developers put their cards on the table Monday, unveiling a proposed $250 million casino resort, which would include slot machines, gaming tables, a hotel, villas and golf courses in three phases of development on land in the town of Florida and city of Amsterdam.

The project would create 453 temporary construction jobs and 850 permanent casino jobs, the developers say.

About 100 people attended a Florida Town Board meeting Monday to listen to the proposal from Clairvest Group, Great Canadian Gaming Corp. and Vandewalle and Associates. The team is proposing the casino on 500 acres off Thruway Exit 27.

The Town Board on Monday voted to approve a resolution supporting the proposal.

The project would be split into three parts, which would include gaming, recreation, commercial, lodging and residential features.

Phase one of the project would feature a casino with 1,250 slot machines and 40 gaming tables, an outdoor public meeting space, a hotel and residential villas.

Phase two would include a golf course and golf academy along with additional housing and recreation.

Phase three would include a second golf course, more housing and additional commercial development.

Developers said the project would create the construction jobs over the projected two-year development.

The permanent casino workers would have a median income of $42,000, the developers said.

Additional construction and permanent jobs would be created with the addition of other amenities, the developers said.

The team estimates gross gaming revenue of $170 million in year three of the casino. The developers said the host communities could expect to see a $11.4 million share in gaming taxes, with the town of Florida getting 190 percent of its current property tax revenue from the casino.

Terrance Doyle of the Great Canadian Gaming Corp. said top earners at the casino could receive around $100,000. Someone working at a gaming table could earn about $30,000.

According to the Montgomery County Business Development Center, the average income for a person in the county now is $22,936.

Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort told the audience the county needs the project more than most counties.

He said the casino could transform the county, bringing in jobs and money.

“We truly are a community in need,” Ossenfort said.

The Exit 27 casino developers are among those applying to build one of the four casinos the state has authorized for the Catskills, Albany-Saratoga area or Southern Tier-Finger Lakes regions. No more than two casinos will be located in one region.

The casino applications are due to the state June 30. Developers each paid a $1 million fee for the applications. The state will select the casino sites in the early fall.

Ossenfort said the developers will ask for a reduction in licensing fees to $25 million from the state’s mandated $50 million for Capital Region projects.

Montgomery County Social Services Commissioner Michael McMahon said the project would bring needed jobs to the community.

“When a window of opportunity opens, don’t draw the shade,” McMahon said.

In other casino news:

Foxwoods and Muss Development said Monday they are dropping plans to build a casino in Liberty in Sullivan County, citing the possibility of a competing casino closer to New York City.

About 12 percent of New Jersey gamblers would take their business to one or more of the four new casinos being built in New York, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll.