One year anniversary: Is Rivers Casino meeting expectations?

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Rivers Casino opened its doors a year ago promising growth profit, and a revitalization of Schenectady.

NEWS10 ABC checked in about six months ago and things did not look like they were on track.

Today there’s a lot more including a hotel and a riverfront. So how do the profits stack up?

Rush Street Gaming CEO Greg Carlin admits gaming in the area hasn’t met expectations.

“It’s certainly no secret that gaming in upstate New York has under-performed the original projections.”

He says a lot of this comes from being a new business.

“We didn’t necessarily provide the best service early on in the opening. I think that’s changed a lot and I think our team in place is doing a great job.”

Numbers from New York State Gaming Commission reports show during the bid process operators projected third-year stabilized gaming revenue would garner $223 million.

The profit in the first year has been just more than $128 million, leaving a lot of ground left to make up.

“It’s hard to say we’re a new business first year a lot of businesses don’t meet their projections in the first year.”

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara says it shouldn’t just be about the numbers.

“It’s always been about putting community first not just about profits that’s why we may see the projections aren’t quite there.”

Schenectady County legislators say “the rivers casino and resort has been a good bet for Schenectady County and our residents.” They cited more than $2 million in gaming revenue, $440,000 in mortgage tax, and $546,000 in property tax.

Carlin says in total, the casino has generated $53 million in taxes.

“Property taxes, we pay hotel occupancy taxes, sales tax on food and beverage, and liquor taxes, so there’s a lot of taxes.”

“That’s revenue they didn’t have before and it’s revenue that’s going to benefit our residents and it’s happening right now.”

Even so, the bid promised $82 million in annual gaming taxes and fees, but in the first year, reports show only half of that was generated.

The casino and supporters like Santabarbara remain optimistic.

“We will see this project meet those projections and may even see them exceed them at some point.”

The casino credits its staff for the success so far. They hope with even more promotions and events they can continue that growth for years to come.

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