State rejects Montgomery County casino proposal

The state Gaming Commission’s New York Gaming Facility Location Board decided today 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 board said the application for the Montgomery County site was incomplete. Board members said making an exception for the developer, Florida Acquisition Corp., would be unfair to the other casino applicants.

The board made its decision after hearing a plea from Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane to reconsider disqualifying the proposal. She told board members at the meeting in New York City that Montgomery County is one of the most impoverished counties in the state and needs the type of economic boost the casino would provide to the area.

The casino was 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.

The remaining four proposed casino sites are in East Greenbush, Troy, Schenectady and Howes Cave.

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 in June, but the developers still submitted an incomplete application to the state June 30.

The application included 80 non-responses to inquiries, according to the commission.

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

More on this story will appear in Friday’s print and online editions of The Leader-Herald.