Chesterfield Supervisor Gerald Morrow.
Essex County may be out of the running for one of three casinos planned to be built in New York in the next few years, but Chesterfield Supervisor Gerald Morrow believes there is still a way to bring gaming to the region.
Essex County was left off the list of potential sites for a gaming facility by New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year after the state and the Akwesane Mohawk Tribe reached a deal that continued to give them exclusive gaming rights in the North Country.
Morrow said that while that route did not pan out for the region, another might.
“I was thinking, who says we have to do it?” Morrow said about government bringing gaming to Essex County. “I think that we should get in contact with the tribe and ask if they would want to open a casino.”
As example, Morrow said he goes to Turning Stone in Verona several times throughout the year to watch shows and do some gambling. The casino is run by the Oneida Tribe, which purchased the land in the 1990s.
“There has to be a way we could come up with a deal that they could take over the land and run a casino with the county being able to receive sales and occupancy tax,” Morrow said. “It would give so many employment opportunities to the area. Think of the jobs and the sales tax that it would provide here.”
When asked where the casino would be located, Morrow said he felt the obvious choice would be at the former Frontier Town property in North Hudson.
“I think that this is a win-win just to investigate the possibility,” he said. “You are talking about a location that is right off the Northway and would be attractive for shows and gaming.”
Morrow said he would want to the see a facility that had the ability to bring entertainment and lodging to the area as well as gaming.
“If it were just about the gambling, I would probably never go to Turning Stone,” he said. “The draw is to get the shows there as well. I go to Verona to see Alan Jackson, Clint Black and Travis Tritt. If you have the shows and places to stay and amenities so you can go to a show, get something to eat after and have a place to stay, it’s something I think should be looked at.”
Essex County Chairman and Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas said that the county can already look forward to an additional $450,000 in revenue if the statewide proposition to allow gambling in New York state passes.
The proposition reads as follows: “The proposed amendment to section 9 of article 1 of the Constitution would allow the Legislature to authorize up to seven casinos in New York state for the legislated purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools, and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated. Shall the amendment be approved?”
The proposition will be part of the ballot for the Nov. 5 general election.