Montreign Casino Executives Reach Out to Officials from Orange and Ulster Counties
The three bidders for the Catskills/Hudson Valley region’s gaming license in New York state have decided to join forces. The three officials who have agreed to meet represent the winning applicant (Montreign Resort) and two nearby losing counties (Orange and Ulster Counties). All three spent most of 2014 bickering over their respective claims in the New York state casino licensing process.
In December 2014, after months of speculation, the New York Gaming Facility Location Board announced that the Montreign Resort Casino would win the Catskills and Hudson Valley license. That left Orange County and Ulster County without anything to show for their $1 million application fee, as well as all the time spent lobbying for the license.
Heated Words in 2014
Those counties had had an unseemly war of words with Montreign, which is located in the town of Kiamesha Lake in Sullivan County. With the daunting task of building a $1.1-billion hotel and casino resort in a town of 12,000 people, the various officials decided it was time to end grudges and work together to make the new casino a success for the entire region.
Thus, officials from all three counties are willing to discuss and pool resources. Thousands of construction jobs and over a thousand more permanent gaming and leisure jobs are going to be provided by the Montreign Resort. While many of those employees will reside in Sullivan County, many also will live in Ulster and Orange counties.
Two Meetings Have Occurred
An initial meeting already has taken place. Charles Degliomini, the VP of Empire Resorts, met on February 18 with Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Scott Samuelson and Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus to discuss future plans.
That is expected to be the first of many such meetings to take place over the next several months, as construction begins to ramp up. Charles Degliomini is said to have told the other officials that they have no reason to continue an acrimonious relationship, while also sharing that Montreign is going to need assistance in recruiting and training a 2,300-person workforce to build and staff the casino and hotels. The development stretches over 1,700 acres, so it is going to be a huge project to complete.
Talks about the Workforce
Montreign also revealed that the Degliomini has met with Mike Hein, the Ulster County Executive, to discuss the finer points of the economic developments, such as the hiring of armed services veterans, female workers, and minorities. Mike Hein is in charge of economic development throughout the region, so the Degliomini/Hein meeting was particularly pivotal. After the two meetings, Mr. Degliomini called for all parties to adopt a “common strategy” to ensure the most benefit for the people of the region, which has been depressed in recent years.
Despite the words of friendship, Charles Degliomini said that Sullivan County is of utmost importance to him right now. With only 77,000 people residing in the county, such a construction project is simply beyond his county’s abilities to handle alone.
Veterans Ready to Work
Mr. Neuhaus, speaking on behalf of Orange County, said that 23,000 veterans reside in his county and these men and women would be thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute. Neuhaus also noted that the $1.1 billion investment and 2,300-person job growth would help the regional economy for all three counties.
Charles Schumer Getting Involved
Not all of the initiatives are local. U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York has called for a summit of regional business leaders. Schumer is concerned about getting the investment capital together to make the Montreign Casino project a success. It has not been announced when the Montreign business summit will be held, but it presumably would be in the next few weeks or months.
The various concerns expressed by local, state, and national leaders show that the Catskills/Hudson Valley region needed this kind of economic development. The New York state casino licensing projects were designed to boost local economies in depressed areas, which is one reason local developers were chosen ahead of the big gaming companies, such as Caesars Entertainment out of Las Vegas, Mohegan Sun out of Connecticut, and Genting Limited Group ouf of Malaysia.
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