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Only Sullivan County makes sense for two casinos in the Catskills

By Les Krist
July 23, 2014

I am an adamant proponent of two casinos for Sullivan County.

To be realistic, it is most probable that Sullivan County will end up with only one and Orange County will end up with one. If that were to happen, I think that Sullivan County has the potential to embarrass the state by having a Sullivan County casino far outperform one in Orange County.

I am not at all convinced that one in Orange County would do better since it is closer to New York City or will be super glitzy.

Perhaps some will travel first to the one in Orange County, but once they realize what a true family destination resort casino in Sullivan County will encompass, I think it will be an easy choice for someone from Long Island, New York City, or Westchester to opt for the Sullivan County casino, even though it may be 45 more minutes more in their car.

Please note that almost 80% of the Sullivan County voters in last November’s election wanted a casino here. When the casino(s) is (are) built, if Sullivan as a county focuses on making the entire County of Sullivan as the destination resort they cannot lose.

Sullivan County is beautiful. Rivers, streams, lakes, green pastures, rolling hills, beautiful farms, country roads, snow-covered mountains in winter, hunting and a lot more is Sullivan County. Sullivan County is the antithesis of the city. Yes, it needs to clean up some of the rundown bungalows and hotels of yesteryear and show its Sullivan hospitality to all who come here, but those are very doable things.

Just think, if Sullivan pulls together once the casino is here, if the casino can package a day trip to Lander’s Canoe Trips in Narrowsburg or a day of trout fishing in Roscoe, if they can package a night at a concert at Bethel Woods or a play at Forestburgh Theatre, if they can package a day trip with John Conway on a bus tour of Sullivan County, if they can package a day of water skiing at Kauneonga Lake, then visitors will be able to take in the beauty of Sullivan County for the day or evening and be able to play at a world-class casino at night or the next day.

With two casinos, Sullivan County can become a true destination resort for an audience of 10 million or more who are within driving distance coming here with or without children. If the logic for a successful casino is true for one casino, it is surely true for two casinos here.

The original reasons that the resorts did so well in Sullivan County and were nonexistent in Orange County are still there.