del Lago Resort & Casino celebrates a year in business; local leaders react to success

The del Lago Resort & Casino celebrated its first anniversary as a gateway to the Finger Lakes region, pledging to continue to reinvigorate the local community, boost tourism and help new and existing businesses grow.

del Lago Resort & Casino Executive Vice President and General Manager Jeff Babinski and del Lago Resort & Casino Co-Chairman Tom Wilmot Sr. addressed local officials, business leaders and vendors from across the Finger Lakes region, and local neighbors as they celebrated the accomplishments and collaborative partnerships of the past year which helped contribute to del Lago’s success.

During the celebration, Tyre Town Supervisor Ron McGreevy, Seneca County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bob Shipley, President of the Finger Lakes Building & Construction Trades Council Mike Davis, CEO and President of Glenora Wine Cellars Gene Pierce, and CFO of Auburn-based Johnston Paper Tom Lewis each spoke, highlighting how del Lago Resort & Casino has positively impacted the community and their businesses.

“From the beginning, we pledged that del Lago would be a committed advocate for the community and a gateway to the region. We are proud that our customers have enabled us to stimulate job growth and boost tourism and economic development for the region,” said Babinski. “There is no better way to mark our first year than to show our gratitude to our community partners, vendors, friends and neighbors and to celebrate all of our collaborative successes. We are poised to have an even better second year for del Lago, our customers, our vendors, Seneca County and the entire region.”

With more than 1,200 employees, del Lago Resort & Casino is one of the largest employers in Seneca County and has significantly helped to lower the county’s unemployment rate. Twenty-four percent of del Lago’s team members are from Seneca County and 78 percent of its workforce come from the immediate counties surrounding del Lago Resort & Casino, helping to boost employment throughout the entire region.

“Before del Lago Resort & Casino opened, the unemployment rate in Seneca County hovered around 7 percent — well above the state and national averages. Since del Lago Resort & Casino opened, hundreds of Seneca County residents have landed jobs at del Lago assisting in bringing down the unemployment rate to 3.9 percent,” said Seneca County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bob Shipley. “Not only is del Lago greatly impacting our area’s unemployment rate, but it’s also very clear that del Lago has jumpstarted the economic development of the entire Route 414-318 corridors and is bringing new tourists to our region while helping benefit both Seneca County and our local businesses. I look forward to continued success and growth to help the Finger Lakes Region.”

Tyre Town Supervisor Ron McGreevy added “del Lago Resort & Casino has been an asset to our region — the Town of Tyre and Seneca County are thriving as a result of the casino opening. Del Lago has done everything it pledged since the day it opened — they brought much needed jobs to the area, enabled the Town of Tyre to reduce taxes 50 percent in 2017, increased tourism to our region and stimulated the local economy, spurring other major developments and for that we are forever grateful.”

Del Lago Resort & Casino’s mission to become a gateway to the Finger Lakes region has been realized as the resort and casino significantly boosted tourism in the region. According to data from the New York State Thruway Authority, traffic at Exit 41 has increased nearly 50 percent since del Lago Resort & Casino opened. In the year prior to del Lago’s opening, average monthly traffic at the Thruway exit was 266,306 vehicles. Since the February opening, the average monthly vehicle count dramatically increased to 381,477 vehicles.

The uptick in traffic counts confirms the positive impact del Lago Resort & Casino has had on Seneca County and the Finger Lakes region. Local officials expected the number to significantly grow, but the recent figures far exceeded expectations.

“Since it opened, del Lago Resort & Casino has been an incredible community steward of the region,” said Gene Pierce, owner of Glenora Wine Cellars. “Del Lago has embraced all that our area has to offer and has encouraged guests to go out and explore our areas wineries, vineyards and local businesses and for that we are very appreciative. Del Lago has also created many synergies with Finger Lakes wineries such as with its Tasting Tuesday events and sampling opportunities inside Savor New York. These events have introduced our wineries to new guests who have then come to visit our vineyards because they learned about them at del Lago.”

Del Lago has made a conscious effort to bring in guests off the Thruway into del Lago and then push them out into the region to enjoy the many wineries, breweries, cideries, shops and local businesses. The casino’s unique reward program also allows del Lago to honor its mission to become a gateway to the Finger Lakes region. While points can be redeemed on property, unlike other players clubs (where points are only redeemable at the casino) guests can also use points earned at Finger Lakes retailers including The Muranda Cheese Company, Montezuma Winery, Idol Ridge Winery, Glenora Wine Cellars, Ciccino’s Pizzeria & Restaurant, Magree Diner and Knapp Winery to name a few. Area partners credit del Lago for bringing in new guests and tourists to their locations, something del Lago has strived to accomplish since its inception.

Del Lago spends hundreds of thousands of dollars every month buying local vegetables, fruits, wine, beer, meats and other supplies and services. Hundreds of jobs have been created at new and existing local businesses like Muldoon Dry Cleaners and Pilat Graphic Design – restaurants, wineries, retail outlets, service providers, etc. – throughout the region as a direct impact of del Lago opening one year ago and that number will continue to grow as del Lago enters its second year in business.

The 94,000-square-foot del Lago Resort & Casino officially opened its doors on Feb. 1, 2017 and just five months later, on July 1, 2017 the 205-room hotel and 14,000-square-foot European-style Spa del Lago opened.

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