. . This post is again relevant in October 2019, with Mayor McCarthy seeking a giant increase in pay and touting the Casino as an achievement justifying the increase.
Following up on the first two postings in our Money on the Table series (Part 1, and Part 2), the following email message was sent to City Council Members this afternoon (May 27), via City Clerk Chuck Thorne, along with a chart labeled Rush Street’s Giveaways. (click the image to the right for an updated jpg. version). The Chart shows the many benefits Rush Street Gaming [RSG] has bestowed on each of its other casino communities, in commitments made prior to opening, while offering none to Schenectady. We believe Mayor McCarthy has left Money and More on the Table in its dealings with RSG and the Galesi Group concerning Rivers Casino at Mohawk Harbor.
To: City Council Members
Re: Chart: Rush Street’s Giveaways
The attached chart shows that Rush Street Gaming has given or promised significant voluntary (non-mandated) payments and other benefits to every one of its casinos, and in every casino application, while offering no such giveaways to Schenectady. Many of these giveaway payments have been made in the years prior to the opening of a Rush Street Casino. I am hoping that these documented facts will start a conversation among City leaders and perhaps the public and media about:
- why the City has been so generous to Rush Street, and not the other way around (Rush Street wants a casino at Mohawk Harbor and Mr. Galesi is not able to move the location)
- Every other potential casino city demands such concessions, it is industry practice, and Rush Street negotiates everywhere
- which neighborhood and community projects could have been funded with an extra $1 million, or even $100K, payment this year and next year?
- update (Oct. 16, 2019): This month, Rush Street Gaming, owner of Rivers Casino and Mayor McCarthy’s “Casino Partner”, issued press releases announcing it has again contributed $7.5 million dollars this year to the City’s grand sports and entertainment center, PPG Paints Arena, to help cover its construction costs; the payments will continue for 35 years. It also announced another $1 million dollar annual contribution to the PENN Treaty Special Services District to distribute for the benefit of several neighboring communities. Note: Rush Street pays higher gaming tax rates on slots and table games in Pennsylvania than it does on its Schenectady Casino.
- There were no RSG press releases touting millions in contributions in Schenectady over its required taxes
- For more generosity to other cities, see the Rush Street’s Sept. 23, 2019 Press Release “RIVERS CASINO WAUKEGAN OFFERS THE MOST TAX REVENUE PLUS $90 MILLION FOR LOCAL CHARITIES“
- the Mayor did not use his leverage when he let Rush Street and Galesi totally rewrite the City’s existing Harbor District Zoning provisions (including giving away the public’s right to use and enjoyment of the riverbank); has the City lost all leverage with Rush Street Gaming, or are there still things the Casino needs from the City or its residents that might inspire RSG to offer “goodwill” payments?
The Mayor referred to the Stop the Schenectady Casino website as “that blog” at the last Council meeting, and suggested the website has misinformation. I assure you that we’ve always done our best to present the facts and objective reading of laws concerning this Casino, and have often been the only source in this City for any stories, research, facts, etc., that show the casino or RSG in a bad light, or that even ask that the City Council and Mayor do some homework and stop to fully consider issues. We will correct any factual mistakes, if they are pointed out.
At this link, you will find documents and articles supporting our assertions, and find discussion countering the excuses that have been made to date by the Administration. You can use this short URL: http://tinyurl.com/casinoMOTT2
Please feel free to contact me with any questions and comments.
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