. . above: Billy Fuccillo & Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy in a Fuccillo Automotive Group tv ad from the Rivers Casino, and Gary and Billy saying “H-u-u-ge!” . .
September should have been a huge month for revenues at the Schenectady Rivers Casino, due to all the developments, hoopla and free press all summer, and a big push from extra-huge car salesman Billy Fuccillo since late August. The revenue stream should have been surging all September, given:
- the mid-July opening of the Casino’s Landing Hotel (first guests arrived July 19), with lots of publicity for the Grand Opening, including the Vegas-style magical illusions of Steve Wyrick
- arrival of the first “live-and-play here” tenants at River House
- Billy Fuccillo getting the Keys to the City on July 20, and about a month later starting a series of ubiquitous tv ads, and related promotions, located at Rivers Casino and its The Landing hotel
- the end of the Saratoga Racing season and any resultant loss of casino gambling in Schenectady
- a sold-out first boxing event on September 23rd
- the insistence of Rush Street officials and local political leaders that all of the above would result in greater revenues after the summer doldrums. See, e.g. the Times Union article “Schenectady still hopeful casino will pay off” (by Paul Nelson, Sept. 24, 2017)
Nonetheless, despite that confluence of reasons to expect a great September, revenues declined all month — four weeks in a row, according to the Gross Gaming Revenues statement submitted yesterday (Oct. 7) to the NYS Racing Commission by Rivers Casino. [click on image to the right]
- update: October was pretty terrible, too, with the last week of October the worst ever for the Casino. See http://tinyurl.com/RiversSinking
The actual revenue numbers did not prevent (or maybe they inspired) most candidates for the three contested seats on the Schenectady City Council to remind a Gazette Forum audience that it takes three years for a casino’s revenues to stabilize and to make projections more accurate. [They do not say whether industry experience suggests the trend is for a higher or lower level of revenue stabilization after three years.]
If you haven’t done so already, please see the two Times Union Sunday articles on disappointing casino revenues, published on September 24, 2017: Lauren Stanforth’s “Some bets are off at New York casinos: State’s three new gaming centers millions of dollars behind their first-year revenue projections”; and Paul Nelson’s local focus article (referred to above).
Of course, David Giacalone, his friends and like-minded folk are not the likely targets of Rivers Casino promotions and ads. Nonetheless, I have to wonder how the Rush Street folks could think that opening their tv onslaught early this year with a Russian-mob impersonator, and now counting on Billy Fuccillo (who I have grown to value over the decades for his auto ads, but not for lifestyle advice) to broaden their appeal. Adding the un-telegenic presence of Hizzonner Gary McCarthy also seems unlikely to help turn Rivers Casino at Mohawk Harbor into a regional (much less national) tourist destination.
. . share with this tiny url: http://tinyurl.com/NoHugeRevenues
- Food For Thought (Regrets Category): Have you noticed how much money nearby counties are getting without having to deal with the problems of having an urban casino in their midst? Or having the fear of their casino failing, or the embarrassment of their politicians bending over backwards to please the Casino or find misleading reasons for optimism? Those of us who thought the risks of an urban casino were too great to warrant gambling that a Schenectady casino would yield the promised revenues would be pleased to merely take the trickle-down payments given to nearby counties.
Thus, even with the disappointing revenues to date, Rensselaer County had already received $403,750 by the end of July — approximately what Schenectady County would have received already, since it has a very similar population. And, if the Casino had gone to the much more deserving Howe’s Caverns applicant in Schoharie County, Schenectady would have been the closest significant source of employees, and the State would have a commercial casino sans the extra risks that urban casinos bring. Here’s a look (from the August 21, 2017 Gazette) at how much Rivers Casino has meant to local municipalities from its state gaming tax dollars through July, according to state Gaming Commission numbers:
- Education: $17.9 million
- City of Schenectady: $1.1 million
- Schenectady County: $1.1 million
- Albany County: $770,388
- Fulton County: $140,630
- Montgomery County: $127,178
- Rensselaer County: $403,750
- Saratoga County: $556,148
- Schoharie County: $82,936
- Washington County: $160,092