SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Less than one year after its grand opening, Rivers Casino in Schenectady has announced its general manager is stepping down immediately.
The news of the general manager leaving was surprising to many, including local business owners. Some said the casino hasn’t provided the boost they thought it would.
Max Martin and his family have owned Morrette’s Steak House for four years. Martin remembers being excited hearing the news a casino was being built down the street.
“As it was going up, I was driving by each day, and I’m like, that looks really good,” he said.
But he noticed a strange trend early on with customers.
“They would say at first that they were going to the casino and they won a few hundred bucks, but as time went on, it got old and they just weren’t going to the casino anymore on a Friday night,” Martin said.
Still, Martin was surprised to hear the news that GM Mary Cheeks would be stepping down from her role immediately. A statement from the casino said she left to “pursue other opportunities.”
“I was kind of surprised,” Councilman Vince Riggi said.
Riggi said the casino is under performing in revenue projections. He wouldn’t make the direct connection to Cheeks leaving; however, he said it does make you think.
“When the team underachieves, the manager is first to go,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tony DiCarlo, the co-owner of Katie O’Byrnes Restaurant said the casino has helped.
“Our business is definitely up,” he said.
DiCarlo doesn’t expect that to change even with Cheeks’s departure.
“Anything that is going to draw people to the area is going to increase business for everybody,” he said.
The casino said Assistant General Manager Justin Moore will stop into the general manager role for now.