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July 31, 2014

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Caesars, Pinnacle among those pursuing upstate New York casinos

Updated Thursday, April 24, 2014 | 3:04 p.m.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Groups hoping to secure the rights to open a casino in upstate New York include hometown business owners as well as gambling giants like Caesars, Genting Group and Foxwoods, state gambling officials announced Thursday.

In all, 22 projects are in the running for upstate casino licenses. A state gambling panel released the organizations behind the proposals following Wednesday's deadline for interested parties to pay a $1 million application fee.

Four casinos are authorized in three regions: the Albany-Saratoga region, the Catskills and the Southern Tier.

The Catskills attracted the most interest, with several groups competing to build a casino in Orange County, 50 miles north of New York City. Bidders for Orange County include Malaysia-based casino and resort developer the Genting Group; Caesars Entertainment of Las Vegas; the Saratoga Casino and Raceway; the Cordish Companies, a Baltimore-based casino and commercial developer; and Greenetrack, the owners of an electronic gambling hall in Alabama.

Four other groups are interested in other sites in the Catskills. Foxwoods and Muss Development are collaborating on plans for a resort in Liberty. The Mohegan tribe and Empire Resorts, the owner of the Monticello Casino and Raceway, are each eying sites in Sullivan County. Nevele Investors hopes to build a casino at the site of an old Borscht Belt resort.

A final proposal comes from Trading Cove New York, a partnership between the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans and hotel and casino developer Len Wolman.

Three groups will compete to build a casino in the state's Southern Tier: the Tioga Downs Racetrack, Traditions at the Glen resort and conference center and Wilmorite Inc., a Rochester-based development firm lead by Thomas Wilmot.

The Albany area has five projects in the mix: a plan from Capital Region Gaming for a complex just south of Albany; Saratoga Casino and Raceway's proposed East Greenbush venture; Howe Caverns' pitch for a Schoharie County casino and Pinnacle Entertainment's Rensselaer County site. Cordish is also interested in the area, but hasn't announced a specific site.

Four other groups have not said publicly where they're seeking to build. They are: Rolling Hills Entertainment, NYS Funding LLC by Och-Ziff Real Estate; Hudson Valley Gaming, LLC and Clairvest, a Canadian private equity firm.

A state constitutional amendment passed last year authorizes up to seven full-scale, non-Indian casinos overall. The state is starting with four facilities in the upstate.

Selections will be made this fall. The state already hosts several racetracks with slot machines in addition to tribal casinos.

Complete applications are due June 30. A state panel will recommend its choices to the Gaming Commission.

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