Despite statute requiring new gaming facilities to create jobs, the credit ratings agency says Wilmot’s project will destroy them.
A new report from Moody’s further confirms what past economic analyses have exposed: Tom Wilmot’s casino proposal will destroy jobs in Central New York. The report from the credit ratings agency, which was released on Friday, declared that rather than growing the local economy as state gaming legislation requires, the Lago project’s details “uniquely position it to cannibalize gaming customers” from existing local economies. The report further underscores the legal merits of the lawsuit now moving forward against the Lago project. New York’s public officials have a responsibility to honor the spirit and letter of the gaming law’s job growth provisions — that means they must reject proposals predicted on destroying local jobs.
WILMOT TOLD NEW YORKERS HIS PROJECT WOULD CREATE JOBS: To secure approval for a gaming license, Tom Wilmot promised public officials and local communities that his proposed casino “will create thousands of jobs (and) bring hundreds of thousands of new tourists to our beautiful region” — even though data prove those assertions are false.
MOODY’S REPORT CONFIRMS PREVIOUS ANALYSIS ABOUT CANNIBALIZATION: An independent 2014 report commissioned by the local economic development organization Mohawk Valley Edge found that despite the enabling legislation mandating that gaming expansion be predicated on economic growth, most of the proposed Wilmot casino will draw its revenues from existing entities, rather than growing the economy. According to the study, “67% of the proposed facility’s gross gaming revenues will displace existing gaming activity and merely transfer gaming expenditures and employment from existing gaming facilities to the proposed facility.”
WILMOT PROPOSAL WILL NOT SUBSTANTIALLY INCREASE TOURISM: Despite being billed as an initiative to substantially increase tourism in the region, the Wilmot proposal would primarily draw its customer base from the already well-served local economy. According to the study, a full 69% of the proposed facility’s gaming revenues and 87 percent of its annual visits “will be generated by residents living in the local area” while just 14 percent of its revenues and 3 percent of its annual visits “will originate at a drive time of 91 minutes or more from the facility.”
LAGO WOULD REDUCE ECONOMIC RIPPLE EFFECT OF EXISTING FACILITIES: Among the benefits of existing gaming facilities in Central New York is their financial support of jobs at local business which serve as vendors. The Wilmot proposal would counter that economic ripple effect because while the proposed facility would support vendor jobs, it would end up on net reducing those jobs. According to the study, “As a result of reduced employment and purchases by the four existing gaming facilities that will be its direct competitors, the proposed Wilmot Resort & Casino will actually generate a net decline of 10 indirect jobs and a net decline of 24 induced jobs, with a corresponding loss of employee earnings in these other sectors of the regional economy.”