Casino developers still looking for $25 million savings

The Florida Acquisition Corp. is still looking for an additional $25 million in cost savings, according to the executive summary for their casino development proposal which was recently released by the NY State Gaming Commission. In June, developers had asked the gaming board to cut the required $50 million gaming license in half and to grant them a 60 day extension on submitting their proposal. Both requests were quickly denied by the board, however the developers went ahead and submitted a proposal by the June 30, 2014 deadline.

The acquisition corporation is a partnership of several development companies including Clairvest Group Inc. and Great Canadian Gaming Corp, who are looking to build a facility on land primarily in the Town of Florida near exit 27 off the NY State Thruway. According to their executive summary, the savings is still necessary for the development to be feasible. In the summary, the developers also ask for additional time to complete a “fully complete and compliant” response.

An excerpt from the summary reads:

In order for the development to be economically feasible for the Applicant, Clairvest and GCGC, there is a need to find a savings or deferral of $25 million for the Applicant against the $50 million License Fee. One option was to defer $25 million of the License Fee with its recoupment and more through an increased gaming tax rate of 3% on slot revenue in excess of $135 million. We understand that this option is not acceptable to the Board or the Commission. Rather than drop out as a result, FAC, at the urging of the local community, continues to work with the County of Montgomery to find a solution. FAC would like to engage with the Board and Commission in a solution seeking discussion.

FAC also asks for confirmation from the Board and/or the Commission that the residential units proposed by FDP in Phase One and the golf course in Phase Two will be included as amenities in the Minimum Capital Investment. Once a solution to the License Fee challenge is found and inclusions in the Minimum Capital Spend noted above are confirmed by the Board or the Gaming Commission, the Applicant, Clairvest, GCGC and FDP will work diligently to add content to this RFA response such that within 60 days of the confirmation, the RFA response will be fully complete and compliant.

The summary also says:

The Local Support which has been well documented in public meetings, resolutions and in the press is, in our experience, unprecedented. This, combined with the transformational impact this development could have on this community, has given FAC, Clairvest and GCGC the willingness to continue, despite the challenges we face.

In regards to working with local businesses, the summary states:

We are also actively looking to partner with local business people and aspiring entrepreneurs on opportunities that may be available as part of the resort complex or as spin off opportunities as a result of increased business activity in the region. For example, we have had preliminary discussions with a local spa operator who wishes to partner as the operator of the spa in the resort complex once completed.

Community groups both for an against the casino project have made public demonstrations recently. A group opposed to the development demonstrated in Amsterdam last week and again yesterday afternoon. A group in favor of the project demonstrated yesterday afternoon and also plans to rally again this afternoon.

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.