Bob Hayssen responds to Oneida officials

Seneca County Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert Hayssen issued a release today in relation to statements by Oneida County officials, led by Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente. The text of Chairman Hayssen’s statement is below.My friends in Oneida County have apparently been drinking heavy doses of Turning Stone Kool-Aid. In a recent press release, they claim “the proposed casino in Seneca County would cause irreparable harm to current economic development in (Oneida) County, costing thousands of area residents their livelihoods.”With all due respect to County Executive Picente, really? You can’t be serious.Turning Stone has had a casino monopoly in Central New York for two decades. And it will continue to have a monopoly in a ten-county region forever. A region that was drawn by – or at minimum freely agreed to – by the Oneidas. Seneca County is not one of those ten counties and has never and will never receive one dime from the Oneidas, nor from the Senecas to our west. Turning Stone, New York State and Oneida County were all parties to that negotiation and contractually agreed to the terms establishing the Oneida exclusivity zone, a zone that rendered Seneca County eligible to compete for a commercial casino license.While it is true that independent marketing analysis indicates that Lago would yield approximately $30 million in gaming revenue that currently goes to Turning Stone, which represents about 10 percent of its gaming revenue. And that assumes Turning Stone doesn’t do more to compete to keep those customers.Will Turning Stone losing 10 percent of its revenue really cost thousands of Oneida County residents their livelihoods? Really?And what about the fact that Lago will create $130 million in new casino revenue in its first year? Turning Stone is free to compete for those new customers with Lago, located 70 miles to its west, or with a new Capital Region casino, located not much further to the east.Does County Executive Picente understand what competition is all about? This is America, not Cuba. Competition is good for businesses and for the customers. Even competition where one party – his party – gets a ten-county monopoly.Game on, County Executive Picente. He was a party to the deal that excluded Seneca County from the Oneida’s exclusivity zone and excluded Seneca County from receiving any share of that fiscal pie. Now he’s trying to once again exclude Seneca County.Picente also said that his “region has experienced unprecedented growth and job creation in recent years.” Congratulations. We in Seneca County have not seen real economic growth or job creation. But we’d like to.Live in my shoes for a day, County Executive Picente. I don’t think you’d make that same foolish argument. Really!

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