By James Odato
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (Reuters) - New York State’s three new commercial casinos are turning out much weaker gambling revenues than projected, with gross receipts at one gaming hall off about 40 percent.
So far New York has received $50.2 million from the three casinos, said gambling industry officials on Wednesday at an annual meeting near the famed Saratoga thoroughbred track. They did not specify how much tax revenue, which goes to education and property tax relief, the state had expected to get from the three casinos this year.
State officials expressed patience with the shortfall while highlighting that job creation and construction spending have exceeded expectations.
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"The full amenities are not yet open," said Robert Williams, executive director of the New York State Gaming Commission.
When Jeff Gural, owner of Tioga Downs Casino in Nichols, campaigned for a casino license, he projected the first year's taxes to the state would be $32 million. So far he has sent just $13.3 million in taxes through the end of June, but hopes a new hotel opening in November will boost that figure.
"I think the market is saturated and we’ve got a lot of work to do to get the revenues where they need to be," said Gural on the sidelines of the meeting.
In Schenectady, where Rush Street Gaming opened Rivers Casino & Resort in February, gross revenues have reached $56.8 million through June 30. It projected $223 million a year in revenue by 2019.
And del Lago Resort & Casino in Tyre, near Rochester, reported $63.1 million in gross revenues in the five months since its February opening, on track to be down 42 percent from its projected $263 million in annual revenues in its first year.
Resorts World is scheduled to open a fourth casino in the Catskill Mountains town of Thompson in March 2018.
The state gets a percentage of each casino’s slot and table game action. In Rivers' case, 45 percent of slot revenues and 10 percent of table game revenues go to Albany.
Overall, 80 percent of the taxes collected go to education and property tax relief; 10 percent goes to the host municipalities while the last 10 percent goes to surrounding counties in the region of the casino.
The casinos arrived as a result of 2013 referendum that authorized changing the state constitution.
(Reporting By James Odato; Editing by Daniel Bases and Lisa Shumaker)