April 7, 2013

Essex County wants casino

ELIZABETHTOWN — If the state is giving out casino allocations, Essex County is interested.

County Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) wrote to Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently and expressed the county’s desire to be on the list if non-Indian gambling casinos are going to be permitting.

Cuomo has proposed allowing three new casinos in upstate New York, a plan that requires changing the state’s constitution with a public referendum.

“We’ll see if we hear back from the state,” Douglas said. “I thought I’d at least give it a try. It would help the county economically.”


Douglas’s letters says the county has identified possible casino sites at the former Frontier Town theme park in North Hudson and the vacant Lowe’s Home Center in Ticonderoga.

Essex County is in the process of seizing most of the old Frontier Town complex, including the A-frame entrance building, Western town and restaurant, for non-payment of property taxes.

The complex, which was sold at a previous tax sale, is expected to be listed on the next sale, planned for this spring.

Frontier Town has not operated since 1998.


“Before we move any further, we would like to clarify as to whether Essex County would be considered for such a project,” Douglas wrote.

“We realize there are restrictions with previous agreements between the state of New York and various Native American groups.”

The Seneca and Mohawk tribes have withheld casino payments to the state and local municipalities, saying the state violated contracts with the tribes by allowing gambling in other territories.

The St. Regis Mohawks, who operate a casino on the Akwesasne Reservation, decided in October 2010 to stop making payments, citing slot machines located on Indian territory elsewhere in northern New York.

After almost two and a half years, Franklin and St. Lawrence counties and four surrounding towns say they are due more than $12 million as their share of casino revenue.

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