Del Lago seeking financial help from state

March 27, 2018 11:12 PM

Del Lago Resort and Casino is seeking financial help from New York State.

Issuing a statement saying that the Seneca Nation has had an unfair advantage since they stopped making payments to New York State and local governments, del Lago says that the Seneca Nation has instead been using the more than $50 million to create promotions and incentives to lure customers from del Lago. 


The spokesperson for del Lago says the casino doesn't want to tell the state what kind of help to give, but it is fair to say it means money. Money that del Lago thinks would level that playing field.

"The Seneca Nation has stopped paying the state, has stopped paying local government... they did that almost simultaneously when del Lago opened," says Steven Greenberg, a spokesperson for del Lago. 

"They're spending that money on marketing, they're providing promotions, increased incentives that unleveled the playing fields. They're going after big-time del Lago customers in the Rochester region and their strategy is working." 

Tuesday, we reached out to State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, who is on the Assembly's Racing and Wagering Committee. He says the state has filed a lawsuit against the Seneca Nation, but that a bigger issue may be the number of casinos in the region. 

"If their business plan showed a certain amount of revenue coming in and it hasn't, I would say they have a bad business plan. I am all for a level playing field, but I don't think that bailing out a particular casino versus some of the other casinos that have been operating is the right way to go," he says.

The casino celebrated its one year anniversary just last month. At that time, we asked the casino's General Manager, Jeff Babinski, about the number of casinos in Upstate New York.

"Look," he said, "I'm not one to say if its saturated or oversaturated, at the end of the day, it's competition. It's healthy competition for the consumer and we are going to be competitive."

Del Lago had estimated it would make $263 million in its first year, but the GM told News10NBC it fell short of that estimate by over $100 million. The resort and casino is now the largest employer in Seneca County, with 1,200 employees. 

Phil Pantano, a spokesperson for the Seneca Nation, responded with the following statement: 

"The owners of del Lago had unrealistic expectations when they applied for their gaming license. Despite various concerns that were raised, the project was approved by the State. Del Lago's estimates were that they were going to take significant market share from both the Seneca Nation's operations in Western New York and from the Oneida operations in Central New York. On top of that, their projections also called for significant new outside revenue. Which of those promises did they fail to live up to? The numbers don't lie. The projections haven't materialized, falling short by some 44 percent, and now, del Lago is turning to the State to fund their failure to meet their own goals. That’s their fault, not ours."


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