February 02, 2018 06:41 AM
One year after its opening, del Lago Resort and Casino in Seneca County has fallen significantly short in the overall revenues it promised to bring in.
In its application to New York State for a casino license, del Lago estimated it would generate $263 million during its first year in operation.
On Thursday, at an event celebrating the casino’s one-year anniversary, the General Manager said it had brought in roughly $160 million.
All three upstate casinos that were granted state licenses last year for operation are far below the predictions they put forth in their applications.
A year ago, people were literally running through the doors when del Lago opened but that excitement appears to have waned. Moody’s Investor Services lowered its bond rating recently saying at its current pace, del Lago may not be able to support its existing debt.
When asked about it on Thursday, Del Lago General Manager Jeff Babinski said, “Look, at the end of the day we've put over 1,200 team members to work. We're driving tourism to this region. We are paying our taxes, albeit a little less than what they project.”
Every time someone hits a slot machine at del Lago, or any of the upstate casinos granted a license, the state collects 45%. Every time someone places a bet at a table game, the state collects 10%. That money is then divvied up with NYS keeping 80% to pay for education and property tax relief, the host town and county sharing 10% and surrounding counties sharing the remaining 10%.
“There were projections that the town and the county would each receive somewhere between $3.4 and $3.6 million a year,” said Ron McGreevy, the Supervisor of Town of Tyre where del Lago is located. “Right now, we're on target to receive somewhere between $2.2 million and $2.4 million. But that's $2.2 million or $2.4 million more than this town or county has ever seen.”
The Chairman of the Board of Supervisors in Seneca County Robert Shipley said that he assumed del Lago would take some time to reach its projections,
“I’m sure that maybe a lot of these proposals were inflated,” he said.
Seneca County planned using modest numbers.
For now, Tyre and Seneca County leaders are satisfied with the fact the unemployment rate in Seneca County has dropped from 7.1% to 3.9%. del Lago is now the county’s largest employer.
News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke spoke with Babinski about the reasons behind the lackluster revenue numbers.
Jennifer Lewke (News10NBC) – “Are you concerned about saturation of the market? Do you think there's too many upstate casinos and that may be impacting your numbers?”
Jeff Babinski – “Look, I'm not the one to say it's saturated or oversaturated. At the end of the day, it's competition, it's healthy for the consumer and we're going to be competitive.”
Jennifer Lewke (News10NBC) – “What are you seeing as far as people who come, are they just not spending as much as you thought they would?”
Jeff Babinski – “No, there's really no different behaviors that I see here compared to what I’ve seen anywhere else. Look, it just takes time to get our name out there and to continue to grow our business…we are laser-focused on driving as many people to the property as we can and as many people to this region and we will continue to work diligently and hard to increase revenue and drive traffic.”
Jennifer Lewke (News10NBC) – “You talk about an increase in jobs, those jobs are dependent on the success of this casino.”
Jeff Babinski – “Yes and we have been successful and will continue to be for years to come.”
Updated: February 02, 2018 06:41 AM
Created: February 01, 2018 06:43 PM
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