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Foxwoods out and other casino notes

By Fritz Mayer
June 18, 2014

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Muss Development and Foxwoods Resort Casino have abandoned plans to build a casino at the site of the former Grossingers Hotel in Liberty. In an open letter to the residents of the county, the two organizations spelled out in detail their reasons for doing so.

The most important sentences in the letter are these: “Unfortunately the mere prospect of a casino in Orange County has made securing the required financing from the banks and other equity partners impossible. We always approached this project by assuming that there would be two casinos in the Catskills, but what we didn’t plan for, and cannot compete with, is a casino project in Orange County. Such a location would siphon off the business and guests we projected would come to Grossingers. To the credit of the NYS Gaming Commission, they have developed a program to help level the playing field. They developed different licensing fees and minimal capital investments for different locations; allowed for a binding alternative if a casino were to be built in Orange County; and they made it clear that speed to completion was important and that SEQRA [the State Environmental Quality Review Act] would impact a project’s selection. Unfortunately, this did not provide a level of comfort necessary to potential financing partners. As such, our financing challenges have proven to be too great, and we will not be submitting a bid on a project that we cannot complete and will be suspending our efforts at this time.”

Go to www.scribd.com/doc/229965164/Foxwoods-goodbye-letter to read the entire letter.

REAP board endorses casinos

Sullivan County and the Town of Wawarsing in Ulster County are in a federally designated Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) Zone, which helps projects in the zone to obtain grants or loans from the United States Department of Agriculture.

The board of the REAP Zone held a news conference on June 11 to announce their support for the remaining three proposed casino projects in the zone.