Four days after the New York Gaming Facilities Board announced its recommendations for three casino licenses in Upstate New York, the Oneida Indian Nation announced it would be opening a new casino on tribal lands in early 2015. The Yellow Brick Road Casino didn’t have to jump through any hoops, nor wait for a license as the Tribe is allowed by Gaming Compacts with the federal government as well as the state to open as many casinos as they want to in a 10 county area.
A settlement signed by the governor in 2013 and upheld by a federal judge in March of 2014 gives the Oneida Tribe exclusive rights to open and operate casinos in a 10 county area surrounding their Turning Stone Resort, as long as the venues are on tribal land. In exchange for the 10 county exclusivity the Tribe will hand over 25% of its slot revenues to state and local governments – that number is expected to reach $50 million next year including proceeds from the new casino.
Yellow Brick Road Casino will be located at 800 West Genesee Street (Highway 5) in Chittenango, New York, in a currently unused and soon to be remodeled portion of Top’s Friendly Markets.
The Hnedak Bobo Group, designers of the Hard Rock Café New Orleans and the upscale Westin Memphis Beale Street Hotel have been retained to create a vision for the Wizard of Oz-themed project, and Hayner Hoyt Corporation of Syracuse will handle the construction management and general contracting work with an anticipated opening in Spring of this year.
Chittenango is known as the birthplace of prolific author L. Frank Baum, best known for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the casino theme and name will pay homage to the late author and related community identity.
Visitors can expect a single story casino spanning 67,000 square feet with 435 slot machines and a 500 seat bingo room. There will also be at least two casual dining venues, a country and western themed bar with live entertainment (the tribe has applied for a liquor license) and a general store selling tobacco products, retail drinks and food, bingo supplies and more.