Oneida Indian Nation Announces Expansion Of Three Casinos

On Thursday, Oneida Indian Nation announced the expansion of one of its three casinos in Central New York, in the midst of financial struggles across the non-Indian gambling industry in Upstate New York.

Point Place Casino in Bridgeport, Madison County, will boost its casino floor size by adding 100 slot machines, taking the total to 600. The development, which will also provide a dealer school and administrative offices, is expected to be completed by the late spring of 2020, the Oneidas said.

Point Place, situated at 450 State Route 31 near the Onondaga County line, opened as the third full-service casino of the Oneidas in March 2018. The others are Verona’s much larger Turning Stone Resort Casino, Oneida County, and Chittenango’s Yellow Brick Road Casino, both close to the Madison-Onondaga county line.

“We are grateful to our guests and employees who have made Point Place Casino such a success, and we are excited to provide an even better experience moving forward,” Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter said in a statement.

Point Place adds the slots to its existing range of amenities, including table games, a newly opened sports betting lounge, as well as restaurants, bars and a bakery. Its expansion comes as the new commercial casinos owned by non-Indian nations that opened throughout Upstate New York over the past three years have failed to meet the revenue projections that they provided to the state when seeking their licenses.

As reported by Syracuse, three of them, del Lago Resort Casino near Waterloo in the Finger Lakes, Resorts World Catskills near Monticello in Sullivan County, and Tioga Downs west of Binghamton, have reduced the number of slot machines that they service. However, earlier this year, the Monticello Raceway, an older “racino” run by the same company as the larger Catskill casino, eliminated all of its slots. All of them, however, had more slots than the relatively small Point Position.

The Oneida Nation pays the state 25 percent of its slot revenues under a gaming compact signed in 2013 in return for the exclusive rights to operate casinos in a Central New York 10-county region. For example, non-Indian casinos charge more: del Lago pays 37% of slot revenue, and 10% of table games and sports betting revenue. World Catskills Resorts charges 39% of slot sales and 10% for table games and sports bets.

For two years in a row, Del Lago has downgraded its credit rating and received a “negative” financial outlook from Moody’s Investor Service. In August, Rochester’s founding partner Thomas Wilmot sold his 50% share of the casino to the other 50% stakeholder, California’s Peninsula Pacific LLC.

The state’s largest casino, Resorts World Catskills, contemplated filing bankruptcy earlier this year before its operator, Empire Resorts, agreed to take over from its majority stakeholder, a Malaysian gaming and real estate company. This summer, the casino announced $400 million of debts.

Many experts have said that the Upstate New York casino industry has become too crowded: the new commercial casinos, which also include Rivers Casino Resort in Schenectady, are competing with seven full-service Indian casinos plus many racinos, racetracks and state-wide OTB parlours.