‘THEIR FAULT, NOT OURS’: Seneca Nation responds as del Lago blames them for ‘unfair’ advantage

del Lago Resort & Casino is facing a ‘blatantly unfair competitive disadvantage’.

That’s the word from Steven Greenberg, acting as spokesperson for del Lago Resort & Casino as they move toward ‘leveling’ the playing field.

“When del Lago sought and won its casino license, it was done based on circumstances that have now significantly changed,” Greenberg explained. “The Seneca Nation stopped making payments to both New York State and to the local governments last year. What are they doing with that newfound windfall? Using more than $50 million to provide additional promotions and incentives – particularly in the Rochester area – to lure customers from del Lago. And it’s working.”

“del Lago can compete on an even playing field but not one that’s tipped so heavily toward the Senecas,” Greenberg continued. “All del Lago is looking for is a fair, competitive marketplace. Unfortunately, the Senecas have upset that applecart and now del Lago is seeking to level the playing field.”

“Our first year has proven how valuable del Lago is to the Finger Lakes region. We want to continue to expand and bring even more tourism and economic development to Seneca County and the surrounding counties,” Greenberg’s statement continued.

How does del Lago Resort & Casino go about ‘leveling’ the playing field. It’s unclear. It’s unclear what action is being taken, or what issues led to this moment – where the highly-anticipated casino and resort is asking for help from the outside.

Phil Pantano, a spokesperson for the Seneca Nation, responded to del Lago’s accusation with the following statement:

“The owners of del Lago had unrealistic expectations when they applied for their gaming license. Despite various concerns that were raised, the project was approved by the State. Del Lago’s estimates were that they were going to take significant market share from both the Seneca Nation’s operations in Western New York and from the Oneida operations in Central New York. On top of that, their projections also called for significant new outside revenue. Which of those promises did they fail to live up to? The numbers don’t lie. The projections haven’t materialized, falling short by some 44 percent, and now, del Lago is turning to the State to fund their failure to meet their own goals. That’s their fault, not ours.”

Last fall, a Moody’s report indicated that there could be financial issues for the casino if conditions did not improve. The report didn’t specify what the issues were, but noted that high-debt load could be a problem. This report came amid revenue reports to New York State, which showed the casino lagging far-behind projections of revenue.

It was recently confirmed that Jeff Babinski, who served as General Manager since the facility was developed and constructed – would be leaving at the end of March.

No word was released on who would be replacing Babinski in that capacity.

FingerLakes1.com will provide updates to this story as more information becomes available.

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