ALBANY, N.Y. -- At the mandatory conference for casino applicants, few questions were asked by the 21 entities brought together, many citing they had no additional questions Wednesday following the first question period earlier this month.
“There are still a lot of details to be ironed out. It's still early in the process," said Rita Cox, Vice President of Marketing at Saratoga Casino and Raceway.
Most inquiries were about SEQR, or the State Environmental Quality Review, and the answers will be released Friday on the state gaming commission's website. Even though it wasn't an extensive forum, officials say their goal was transparency.
“Everyone had to either be here in person or have an authorized representative, and that offered an ability for the press, and the ability for the public, to go up and ask questions themselves," said acting Executive Director of the New York State Gaming Commission Robert Williams.
Some are choosing to play their cards close to their chests. Time Warner Cable News spoke to a number of developers who refused to reveal details of their potential applications, citing the conversations still underway.
Others, however, have been very direct about where their proposals will be, such as Saratoga Harness Racing.
“Putting out our plans has allowed us to speak to those plans in our communities, build partnerships within those communities so we can provide the greatest possible benefit,” said Cox.
With two potential bids for East Greenbush and Newburgh, Saratoga Harness Racing LLC says they're moving forward quickly. That may be vital, as applications are due June 30, and presentations will be made to the board in September.
Then, once selected, in two years time, new casinos will be opening their doors in Upstate New York.
“It is a very aggressive timeline,” said Cox. “But we're confident that we'll be able to deliver on what they requested in the timeline they've requested.”
Currently, there are still 22 potential bids on the table. That could change in the next two weeks, as the minimum capital investment requirement will be released for each of the regions.
Then developers have five days to withdraw their application fee without penalty.
Four proposals will be selected for the Capital Region, the Southern Tier, and the Catskills.