Del Lago says it faces "unfair competitive disadvantage"; looks to NYS for help

The del Lago Resort & Casino celebrated its one year anniversary in February. (WHAM Photo)

Tyre, N.Y./Buffalo, N.Y. – The del Lago Resort and Casino is turning to New York State for help after it says it’s being faced with the challenge of a “blatantly unfair competitive disadvantage.”

The resort claims the Seneca Nation, which runs Seneca Niagara casino in Niagara Falls, stopped making tax payments to local and state governments in 2017 and using those funds to draw casino-goers from the Rochester area with promotions and incentives.

“All del Lago is looking for is a fair, competitive marketplace,” a spokesperson for the resort said in a statement released Tuesday. “Unfortunately, the Senecas have upset that applecart and now del Lego is seeking to level the playing field.”

In a statement of its own, the Seneca Nation said del Lago’s difficulties were rooted in unrealistic goals.

“Del Lago's estimates were that they were going to take significant market share from both the Seneca Nation's operations in Western New York and from the Oneida operations in Central New York,” the Seneca Nation’s statement read. “On top of that, their projections also called for significant new outside revenue. Which of those promises did they fail to live up to? The numbers don't lie. The projections haven't materialized, falling short by some 44 percent, and now, del Lago is turning to the State to fund their failure to meet their own goals. That’s their fault, not ours."

Del Lago celebrated its one-year anniversary in February, as Moody’s downgraded the resort’s financial outlook to negative. The credit agency said it fell short of its projected revenue by more than $100 million.

For its part, the resort said it had an exceptional year, employing more than 1,200 people and driving up tourism. Tyre’s town supervisor also said the town’s portion of gaming tax revenue led to property taxes being cut in half, and additional funds being set aside for infrastructure.

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