ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Developers proposing to build a casino in Orange or Dutchess counties must commit to investing at least $350 million in the project, the panel overseeing the licensing process announced Monday.
The requirement is designed to maximize the economic impact of a casino in the area, and to ensure that any Las Vegas-style facility approved for the area is a "high-quality, large-scale destination" casino, according to the state’s Gaming Facility Location Board, which released requirements for each region now authorized to host a casino.
Developers are now finalizing proposals to build one of four casinos authorized for upstate. The minimum investment thresholds vary by region, with the highest minimum investments required for Orange and Dutchess counties. Those areas, with their proximity to New York City, have attracted the most interest from potential developers.
The minimum investment requirement doesn’t include other costs, including land, financing costs or the state’s licensing fee. The board estimates that when those costs are included the total investment for an Orange County casino will exceed $472 million.
While they haven’t publicly released their total planned investments, several casino bidders told The Associated Press on Monday that their proposals exceed the requirements.
"We think those numbers are very good and show a lot of thought and consideration," said Rita Cox, a spokeswoman for Saratoga Casino and Raceway, one of several groups pitching plans for an Orange County Casino.
Other bidders for Orange County -- just an hour north of the city -- include Genting Group, the Cordish Companies and Greenetrack. Another contender, Caesars Entertainment, has said its Orange County casino proposal would represent an investment of $750 million.
Areas within the Southern Tier-Finger Lakes region have the lowest investment requirements at $85 million. The required investment could be decreased even further if two casinos are authorized for the same region.
Casinos are authorized in three upstate regions: the Catskills and mid-Hudson River Valley -- including Dutchess and Orange counties; the Albany-Saratoga area and the Southern Tier-Finger Lakes region. No more than two casinos may be located in any single region.
Final applications for a casino license are due June 30.