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New Report: Tyre Casino Would Cannibalize - Rather than Grow - Central New York Economy
Source: EDGE [10/29/2014]

584 Phoenix Drive
Rome, New York 13441
Phone 315-338-0393

For immediate release:
October 29, 2014

New Report: Tyre Casino Would Cannibalize - Rather than Grow - Central New York Economy

Despite legislation requiring gaming expansion to grow the economy, an analysis by University of Texas gaming expert shows most of the revenue and tourism that might be generated from the Seneca casino would come out of other facilities.

Mohawk Valley EDGE (Economic Development Growth Enterprises Corporation) said a new independent report about the proposed casino project in Seneca County should convince the state's siting Gaming Board to reject the Wilmot Casino & Resort proposal on the grounds that it does not live up to the goals of the state’s new gaming law. The law mandates that gaming expansions be predicated on economic growth rather than cannibalization - yet the study shows the Wilmot Casino & Resort proposal would generate most of its revenue through cannibalizing the existing Central New York economy.
"For two decades, Central New York has benefited from a carefully planned gaming economy designed to grow public revenues and increase employment even in downtimes, and that success should not be jeopardized by schemes clearly designed to cannibalize this region," said Steven J. DiMeo, President of Mohawk Valley EDGE. "We know from Atlantic City's demise that when it comes to gaming, oversaturation and cannibalization can result in an epic economic disaster. This study shows that's exactly what the Tyre proposal threatens to replicate – which is why state officials need to reject it."
DiMeo also noted that existing laws and regulations are in place to prevent use of public resources to shift jobs from one community to another. This is true with respect to laws governing the activities of local Industrial Development Agencies, State economic development grant programs, and similar regulations were put in place with the enactment of “Start Up NY”. DiMeo added, “Common sense dictates that the Gaming Board should be bound by these same rules and regulations to prevent the shifting of economic activity from one region to another that has adverse impacts in terms of direct and indirect job loss and diminishes revenues that are part of current gaming compacts negotiated by New York State. The underlying premise for adoption of the state legislation authorizing the siting of four additional casinos was to facilitate net new jobs and net new revenues for New York State and local governments. The Wilmot Casino & Resort proposal does not meet that standard.”
According to the report, commissioned by Mohawk Valley EDGE, “67% of the proposed facility’s gross gaming revenues will displace existing gaming activity and merely transfer gaming expenditures and employment from existing gaming facilities to the proposed facility.” Additionally, a full 69 percent of the proposed facility’s gaming revenues and 87 percent of its annual visits “will be generated by residents living in the local area” while just 14 percent of its revenues and 3 percent of its annual visits “will originate at a drive time of 91 minutes or more from the facility.”

The report also shows that since most of the positive impacts of Wilmot Casino & Resort will accrue to Seneca County, the opening of the new facility will not offset the negative impacts on Oneida and Onondaga Counties.

Additional Findings include:

- Impact to NYS: It is estimated that state revenue collection will be $35.0 million less (CY 2018) than would have been the case without the proposed Wilmot Casino & Resort.

- Impact on Oneida County: The Oneida Indian Nation’s Settlement Agreement with the State of New York stipulates that twenty-five percent (25%) of the revenue collected from Turning Stone Casino Resort by the State shall be allocated to the County of Oneida. By 2018, this would result in Oneida County receiving $2.4 million less annually in revenue than would be the case without the proposed Wilmot Casino & Resort and this loss will result in less local economic activity than would otherwise have been the case. Lost revenue would also be a detriment to Oneida County’s Vision 2020 initiatives that are currently slated for funding including economic development, downtown housing, STEM education, public safety, infrastructure projects and an arts and culture grant program.

- Impact to Onondaga County: Under the New York Gaming Economic Development Act of 2013, the State is required to distribute ten (10%) of the funds it receives under the tribal-state compacts to counties within the exclusivity zones that do not already receive a share of these funds under provisions included in the tribal-state compacts. It is expected that Onondaga County would receive approximately $2.5 million per year under this legislation based on Turning Stone Casino’s expected performance. Onondaga County intends to use its share of the gaming proceeds to fund the debt service on the municipal bonds for the construction of an Onondaga Lake amphitheater in the county. The potential loss or reduction of funds that Ononadaga County expects to receive under the state act may require additional County funds be substituted, which would result in an impact on County taxpayers in Onondaga County assuming that the amphitheater project proceeds as proposed.

The report was done by Pyramid Associates, LCC, a registered Massachusetts company (est. 2006) that specializes in gaming market analysis (gravity modeling), industry analysis, economic impact analysis, and behavioral survey research. The company’s general manager (and principal investigator for this report) is Dr. Clyde W. Barrow (Ph.D., UCLA, 1984). Dr. Barrow is a Professor of Public Policy and Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Texas – Pan American. He was formerly a Chancellor Professor of Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth and Director of the UMass Dartmouth Center for Policy Analysis (1987-2014). He has been studying the economic, fiscal, and community impacts of casino gaming for the last 19 years

About EDGE:

Mohawk Valley EDGE (Economic Development Growth Enterprises Corporation) is a vertically integrated economic development organization that assists businesses in locating, growing and prospering in Oneida and Herkimer Counties. A private, not-for-profit corporation, EDGE is an integral part of the long-term effort by the public and private sectors to strengthen opportunities and open the door for new and existing businesses and industries to locate and grow within the region.

Contact: Jennifer Waters, Mohawk Valley EDGE, 315-338-0393 or
Clyde W. Barrow, Ph.D., Chair
Department of Political Science
University of Texas - Pan American
1201 W. University Drive
Edinburg, Texas 78539

Tel: 956-665-3679 (office direct)
Tel: 956-665-3341 (office department)
Tel: 978-340-6234 (mobile)

More information can be found at: EDGE