Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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March 23rd, 2012

Could It Really Happen This Time?

I know we have heard it for over 30 years, but this time we might actually get a casino. All parties involved in the new Concord project have deep pockets and New York is moving closer towards legalized gaming. The push is on like never before as we play catch up to other states.

The plans revealed for the Concord are spectacular. How can we not support this ambitious undertaking by Empire Properties Trust and Empire Resorts?

The Concord will have it all. You name it, and they say it will be there. A racetrack, hotel, convention center, waterpark, ice skating rink, shopping mall, restaurants, movie theatres, world class golfing, RV Park, entertainment, residential communities, and yes, a casino.

The news is so exciting that Louis Cappelli has filed a $1.5 billion dollar lawsuit to stop it from happening because he says the developers conspired against him.

To someone like Cappelli, Empires plans are nothing new, because when he first introduced his proposals to us over a decade ago they included something very similar.

For Cappelli, after sinking millions upon millions the timing was wrong, for the Empires the timing is just right.
Empire Properties obtained the land because Cappelli defaulted on payments. Empire Properties are well respected developers of movie theatres, shopping malls, entertainment complexes, and charter schools.

Empire Resorts is a far different company today than it was a few short years ago. Its major shareholder is one of the largest gaming and resort companies in the world. Genting opened the successful Aqueduct racino last year, and has Governor Andrew Cuomo’s backing to bring a massive convention center and legalized casino gaming there.

It still remains uncertain if Cuomo supports legalized gaming in Sullivan County, or if the Empire developers will even win a casino license. Even though they appear to be on the fast track, Empire says casino approval would not be a factor in developing the Concord.

Other gaming developers are expected to jump in if legalization becomes a reality. Developers who lost out on the Aqueduct project already want to open a casino at the Nevele, and upstate developer David Flaum, who has been trying unsuccessfully for years to enter into the casino gaming market, is talking about opening a hotel and convention center at his Shawanga property in Wurtsboro. The Hard Rock Casino group is also scouting the area.

The Stockbridge Munsee’s are still talking casino, as are the Seneca’s. Noting can prevent them from applying for casino licenses if legalization becomes a reality. Don’t forget, Empire Resorts led the charge in preventing the Stockbridge project from being approved last year, and they are still very angry.

The Villa Roma should not be the forgotten stepchild. At the very least, they should be allowed to operate slot machines.
All of our eggs must not be placed in the Concord basket. Holiday Mountain has been trying for years to construct a waterpark and that is where such an amusement should open.

There are also a lot of unanswered questions. What will happen to Monticello Raceway? Will it be developed or become another eyesore? A four year college would be ideal for the location.

What impact will Cappelli’s lawsuit have? Will it delay the project? Perhaps, instead of lawsuits, Cappelli should concentrate on developing Grossinger’s.

Hopefully the Concord project will spark a great deal of development and competition. Thank you to Tony Cellini for your resilience.

Please just happen already.

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