Efforts to stop a non-Indian commercial casino in Tyre in Seneca County from being built have been revved up by the Oneida Nation of New York.
On the heels of getting the nod from Finger Lakes town officials for the Lago Resort & Casino, a comprehensive education campaign has been launched by the Oneida Indian Nation. The public relations effort is intended to illuminate how the planned casino, which will teeter on the edge of the tribe’s exclusivity zone, is a far cry from what Governor Andrew Cuomo had envisioned for gaming in Upstate New York. The campaign emphasizes that the project has been rampant with conflicts of interest. The Nation contends that the project is run by a developer who makes misleading statements, has a checkered past, takes environmental shortcuts, and has at times engaged in illegal activities, including paying off a government official, according to the Utica Observer Dispatch.
To obtain documents related to the $425 million Lago Resort & Casino’s approval the Oneida Tribe sued the New York Gaming Commission in September, and tribe hopes that its public relations effort will help get that decision reversed. The nation contends that Governor Cuomo’s 2013 plan was meant to revitalize Upstate New York and create new jobs. Under the agreement the Oneida Tribe received exclusivity rights to casino gaming in a 10 county region of Upstate New York. However, that agreement does not include the zone where Lago is being developed in Seneca County. The tribe contends that the Lago casino breaks that promise and shifts jobs from one community to the other, hurting the former. Spokesman for Lago, Steve Greenberg, said that after having a 20-year monopoly the Oneida Tribe will have to compete with other casinos.
The tribe has two casinos in the area, the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona and the new Yellow Brick Road Casino in Chittenango, which are both within 80 miles of the Lago casino located in the town of Tyre off a major highway. Casino proposals for Lago, along with the Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady and Montreign Resort Casino in the Catskills were approved by the Gaming Facility Location Board in December, 2014. Tioga Downs was chosen by the board for a 4th license nine days ago. It appears now that of the four, Montreign Resort Casino is increasing the size of its Catskill casino proposal making it more of a Las Vegas-style facility.