28 Dec

New York approves 3 Casinos; Seneca Allegany decreasing Slot Machines

Slot MachinesBig news came out of New York last week as the state’s gaming regulators chose to approve licenses for three new casinos in the Upstate area. At the same time, the Seneca Allegany Resort made a somewhat surprising move the decrease the number of slot machines on the casino floor during a refurbishment plan that will see added comforts for players.

3 New Casinos coming to New York

At the December meeting held by NY gaming regulators, it was decided that three new casinos would be approved for licensure. They include the Lago Resort and Casino in Seneca County, the Montreign Casino in the Catskills Mountains region, and Rivers Casino in Schenectady, all located in Upstate New York.

Although the licenses have already been approved by the gaming board, there is still the unresolved matter of a pending legal battle stemming from two probable groups; the Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack, an existing racino located about half an hour from the upcoming Lago Casino Resort, and the Oneida Indian Nation, which operates Turning Point Casino about an hour away.

Finger Lakes contends that it will lose up to 50% of its video lottery terminal (VLT) revenue if a full-scale casino opens in such close proximity. Without that revenue, the owners claim the horse track’s purse sizes would be reduced by as much as two-thirds, effectively putting the racino out of business in 2017 when Lago is scheduled to open.

The Oneida Indian Nation, operator of Turning Point Casino in Verona, is expected to join the legal battle. The tribe has already threatened to launch litigation against the Gaming Commission’s decision, claiming the future New York casinos will “cannibalize” their gambling establishment and others, like the Saratoga Race Course that exists near the upcoming Rivers Casino property.

Fewer Slot Machines at Seneca Allegany

The Seneca Allegany Casino, located in southwest New York, more than 2 ½ hours from the nearest newly approved casino, may not be directly threatened by the board’s decision. However, its tribal owners are already taking steps to ensure the loyalty of their patrons.

Surprisingly, that plan includes the elimination of some slot machines.

It’s not often a gambling establishment seeks to draw more visitors by reducing its most popular attractions, but the Nation of Seneca Indians believe its patrons will appreciate a more comfortable experience, as opposed to a higher volume of games.

Currently, the New York casino hosts near 2,000 slots on its 68,000 square-foot gaming floor. Seneca Allegany will be removing about 100 of those machines to expand the base of each slot from 28 to 32 inches. Each base will be upgraded with a larger, swiveling chair, built-in foot rests and adjustable seats that can be moved forward and back for maximum, customizable comfort. A new carpet is also on the refurb menu.

“Nobody else is doing this,” explained Seneca Allegany’s general manager, Gus Tsivkis. “You look at rows upon rows of slots and think ‘How can we make this experience better?’”

Regulators have already approved the renovations, which Tsivkis believes will help maintain the establishment’s longtime mission to be a “guest-focused” casino. “Providing our guests a better experience is an investment that will pay off every time.”