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State Commission Awards License For Lago & 2 Other Casinos

The New York State Gaming Commission on Monday issued formal licenses to the proposed Lago Resort and Casino in Seneca County, as well as casinos in Schenectady and the Catskills.

Some of the work on the casinos had already begun, but now the licenses will allow the projects to move ahead with construction and financing.

Rochester developer and Wilmorite Chairman Tom Wilmot, who is a partner in the Lago project, issued a statement calling it a "huge day," and he says the casino will eventually create about 1,800 jobs. He also says the project will provide a big boost to the entire Finger Lakes economy by also bringing millions of people through the region.  Developers are hoping to open the Lago casino in the Town of Tyre in the first half of 2017.

A spokeswoman for a group called Casino Free Tyre, Desiree Dawley, says that organization continues to try and fight the casino from opening through legal actions it has brought. She feels it will drastically change the quality of life for the worse in that rural town.

Dawley, and officials from the Oneida Indian Nation, which operates the Turning Stone Casino in Central NY, say they will be filing a legal challenge to the project.

Last week, Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack, located in Farmington, said it would ask the state to be allowed to reduce the number of racing dates next year, and they feel Lago will take away gaming revenue from them.

On  Monday, Finger Lakes Gaming issued a statement saying this isn't about competition, but the inability to compete effectively since Finger Lakes is taxed at a rate that is more than double that of Lago.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.