A 60-foot steel beam intended for use in the construction of the Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County was signed by Co-Chairmen Thomas Wilmot, Sr., Brent Stevens, and Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle on Friday at a ceremony attended by labor and business leaders from Finger Lakes, local residents, and more than 350 Tyre and Seneca County officials at the future site of the facility.

The Lago facility is on pace to open before fall 2017 after the New York State Gaming Commission in December awarded a full casino license to it, along with the Montreign Resort Casino located in Thompson, Sullivan County, and the Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady at Mohawk Harbor. According to the Daily Messenger, Wilmot thanked their local supporters and said the Lago venue will attract new tourists by the hundreds of thousands. He said those new tourists “will taste local wines, visit local attractions, buy local goods, help local businesses succeed and expand, and help grow and strengthen the economy of the entire region.” Sevens said, “We eagerly anticipate the grand opening of our game-changing resort and casino and look forward to bringing new visitors to the Finger Lakes region,” and added that the venue would be a world-class destination resort.

The $425 million Lago Resort & Casino off the New York State Thruway will include a casino that will feature 85 gaming tables and 2,000 slot machines, a 207-room hotel, and spa. The venue’s multiple restaurants and lounges will feature local fare. In addition, a unique shop, Savor New York, will highlight products from the region including, local beers, wines, whiskeys, crafts and foods. Developers of Lago Resort & Casino expect 1,800 construction jobs to be created by the project and match that amount in permanent jobs once it opens. To date, more than two-thirds of the 3,000 employment inquires Lago has received have come from Seneca County residents.

Since the December approval Lago has been plagued by lawsuits and opponents including, a group called Casino Free Tyre, and the Oneida Indian Nation’s Turning Stone and Yellow Brick Road casinos, and Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack (FLGR), which are all within close proximity of the Lago project. Opponents disapprove of a new gaming destination that, according to them, will cannibalize their businesses, harm local economies and create significant environmental impacts.

Seventy-nine percent of FLGR’s revenue would have been mandated to the state, while Lago would pay 10 percent on table games and 37 percent on slots. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget made way for somewhat of a leveling of the playing field. FLGR is still not licensed for table games and slot machines. Wilmorite Inc., which owns Eastview Mall in Farmington, and Peninsula Pacific, is in partnership with Lago Resort & Casino.

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