Casino proposal may be disqualified

AMSTERDAM – The state Gaming Commission’s New York Gaming Facility Location Board may vote tonight to disqualify a developer’s $245 million proposal to build a casino near Thruway Exit 27 in the town of Florida and city of Amsterdam.

The commission will meet at 6 p.m. today at the commission offices in New York City. The board contends the application for the Montgomery County site is “incomplete” and includes 80 non-responses to inquiries.

Florida Acquisition Corp. is proposing the casino. It is one of five casino proposals in the Capital Region. The state will award a license for at least one casino in the Capital Region in the fall. Florida Acquisition Corp. is owned by Clairvest Corp., based in Toronto, and Great Canadian Gaming Corp., based in British Columbia.

The Canadian developers sought changes in the Montgomery County application process, including a 60-day extension to submit the completed application. They also requested a reduction of the licensing fee from $50 million to $25 million.

The Gaming Commission turned down the request. However, developers still submitted the application to the state June 30.

Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort said in a written statement this morning, “While we need to respect any decision that the Gaming Commission makes, it would truly be a shame to disqualify the application for the Destination 27 proposal at this time. The development team has made significant progress on restructuring the application where they would no longer need a deferment in the licensing fee and were in the process of finalizing any deficient parts of the application.”

Ossenfort added, “It is concerning that calls and emails from the developers to the commission updating the progress that was made went unanswered. Furthermore, it is disappointing that neither Clairvest nor the county was notified by the Gaming Commission that this would be on today’s agenda and it was posted just one day before the meeting.”

Ken Rose, Montgomery County Business Development Center chief executive officer, said today the county has been working closely with the corporation, although the project isn’t government-driven.

“Obviously, what they actually ended up submitting, it really took us off guard,” Rose said. “They submitted so little. It took us all by surprise.”

Rose said neither he nor the corporation was aware the commission board was going to consider disqualifying the proposal until the meeting agenda was put online Wednesday.

Montgomery County Legislature Chairman Tom Quackenbush today said, “It is what it is. I don’t really want to comment on it.”

Clairvest’s casino investments currently generate more than $1.2 billion in annual gross revenue. Great Canadian Gaming Corp. operates 17 gaming facilities, including 10 casinos, according to the summary.

The proposed casino, which remains unnamed, would include slot machines, gaming tables, a hotel, a restaurant, villas and golf courses in three phases of development. The project would create 453 temporary construction jobs and 850 permanent casino jobs, the developers said.

The siting board’s agenda refers to an “incomplete physical filing” by the Canadian developers.

The board says the applicant was non-responsive to “a complete and accurate Multi Jurisdictional Personal History Disclosure Form.”

Submissions for all 17 proposed casinos across the state can be viewed at

Members of the public who want to listen to the meeting remotely may dial in up to 15 minutes before the meeting’s start time. The number is 1-866-394-2346, with code 6430805412. This is a listen-only line.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at