Casino proposal headed to state

FONDA – Developers that want to build a casino in the town of Florida and city of Amsterdam will submit their application to the state Gaming Commission today, which is the deadline, Montgomery County officials said this morning.

Montgomery County communications specialist Andrew Santillo and County Business Development Center Director Ken Rose said Clairvest and the Great Canadian Gaming Corp. will submit the application for the right to build a $250 million casino resort near Thruway Exit 27.

Developers of several other casino sites in the Capital Region also were expected to submit their applications by today. The state plans to allow four casinos in upstate New York. At least one would be allowed in the Capital Region.

The Exit 27 plan would include slot machines, gaming tables, a hotel, villas and golf courses in three phases of development. The project would create 453 temporary construction jobs and 850 permanent casino jobs, the developers say.

Previously, the developers sought changes in the application process, including a reduction of the licensing fee from $50 million to $25 million. Montgomery County officials sent a letter June 13 to the Gaming Commission requesting changes to the application process.

However, state Gaming Facility Location Board spokesman Lee Park later said, “The requirements spelled out in the Request for Applications establish a level playing field for all potential applicants, including the proposed project in Amsterdam. It is simply not feasible or fair to alter any provision of the RFA or make concessions at the request of a bidder. To do so would create an unfair bidding process for every other potential bidder and invalidate the RFA.”

The developers could not be reached for comment on how the denied request is affecting their application.

The developers have paid a $1 million application fee, which Rose said will be used to pay for various reviews related to the application. If any money remains after the reviews, Rose said the money could go back to the developers.

Santillo said the state would not make a decision on the applications until fall.

He said an announcement is expected later today on who filed casino applications.

A rally to support the Exit 27 casino plan will be held Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam.