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Delaware North sues state to block Finger Lakes casino

ALBANY – Delaware North has filed a lawsuit against the state of New York seeking to block the recent decision to locate a casino east of Rochester that could force the closure of a nearby racetrack and casino owned by the Buffalo company.

The lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in Albany, seeks to block the Cuomo administration’s Gaming Commission from awarding a license to Wilmorite, a Rochester company, for a new casino to be called Lago Casino & Resort in Tyre, located near the Thruway between Rochester and Syracuse in Seneca County.

“Lago’s selection by the New York State Gaming Commission’s location board was strikingly inconsistent and contradictory to the Legislature’s mandates focused on boosting economic impact and providing additional revenue to the state,” according to a statement released Wednesday by Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack, an Ontario County facility owned by Delaware North.

In its lawsuit, Delaware North said 67 percent of Lago’s projected gambling revenues will come from “cannibalizing” gambling revenues at existing casinos in Western and Central New York – from facilities in Hamburg, Batavia and the Seneca Nation-owned facilities to the Oneida Nation’s Turning Stone casino east of Utica.

The lawsuit seeks to annul the December decision selecting the Tyre development as one of three casinos New York officials tapped upstate for new gambling halls. It also asks for a permanent injunction banning the Gaming Commission from awarding an operating license to the developers of the Tyre facility. The lawsuit names as defendants the state and companies tied to Thomas Wilmot, a Rochester developer who won the casino location award in Tyre.

The lawsuit alleges the state failed to “uniformly” apply the law in selecting Lago by ignoring the loss of jobs and revenues at other existing upstate casinos.