Casinos Seek and Receive Slot Relief

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo successfully pushed for a casino expansion amendment to the New York State Constitution in 2013, he presented casinos as drivers of job opportunities and economic growth in upstate New York. Casino operators jumped on the bandwagon, offering “rosy financial estimates to the state to win the gambling licenses.” Since that time, four Vegas-style casinos have opened in upstate New York. The one thing that all four have in common is that they have all failed to make their expected profits.

In recent days, del Lago Resort & Casino in the Finger Lakes region “became the third of the four upstate casinos to gain state approval to lower its inventory of slot machines on its gaming floor.” The Gaming Commission gave the casino permission to decrease its number of slot machines by 15%; the casino is also eliminating 66 table games. According to the Commission, the casino asked for permission to make this move “‘to remove underperforming slot and table game assets and to maximize the efficiency of asset utilization and patron opportunity.’” Resorts World Catskills and Tioga Downs had already been given permission to make similar moves.

New York’s upstate casinos fooled the state with overly optimistic predictions about their own profitability. In fact, they may have even fooled themselves. Here’s the moral of the story, for government and for individuals: When casino interests try to separate you from your money, don’t believe a word that they say.