Breaking: Oneida Nation Opening New Casino in Chittenango
The Oneida Indian Nation is opening a new casino in nearby Chittenango, according to a story in Sunday's Syracuse Post Standard. The new $20 million casino will open later this spring and will feature slot machines, a bingo hall, a restaurant and a country bar. Unlike the Oneida's Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, this casino will target gamers who prefer not to spend the night. The new casino will not feature hotel accommodations.
The news comes just four days after a state panel announced three new non-Indian casinos, including one in the Turning Stone's backyard, just 43-miles west of Syracuse in Tyre.
The new casino being called the 'Yellow Brick Road Casino,' will be built on Oneida owned property at the Tops Chittenango Plaza on Route 5 and will be themed around the village's rich history with the book, 'Wonderful Wizard of Oz.' L. Frank Baum, the book's author,
was born in Chittenango. Chittenango is just 18 miles west of the Turning Stone in Verona.
The Post Standard reports that the new casino will feature 436 vegas-style slot machines and a Bingo hall. Last year, the Oneida's signed a land claim agreement with New York State which gave them exclusive rights to casino gaming in a 10-county area surrounding the Turning Stone. In return, the Oneidas agreed to share 25-percent of the slots revenue with the state and local governments (including Oneida County) and this new casino would
We get the same percentage as Verona since we are the host county of the main agreement - Anthony Picente on revenues to Oneida County
be a part of that pact. Additionally, because the new casino is being built on Oneida land, no permission from the State or Federal governments is required. The Oneidas will, however, be applying for a New York State Liquor license in order to serve alcohol at the new facility.
What Does This Mean for Oneida County Revenue from the Turning Stone?
The obvious question is how will this new casino affect traffic at the Turning Stone in Verona, and ultimately revenue coming into Oneida County from slot machines.
"We get the same percentage as Verona since we are the host county of the main agreement; 25% of the states 25%," said Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente.
"The announcement from the Oneidas to expand their enterprise will continue to benefit our region with more jobs and shared growth in tourism and revenue," added Picente.
The story in the Post Standard called the Oneida's move the 'first counter punch' following the State's decision to allow three new casinos in the state.
Oneida Nation Chief Operating Officer Ray Halbritter told the Post Standard the new casino will be opened whether or not the state approves the state panel's recommendation to open the new casino in Tyre.
"Competition isn't anything new to us - we have Vernon Downs,'' said Halbritter in Sunday's Post Standard.
Check back later for updates and on WIBX on Monday morning during First News with Keeler in the Morning for interviews in regards to this breaking story. Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente is scheduled to be on with Keeler at 7:35.
Read more on the story, including comments from Ray Halbritter, at Syracuse.com.