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Unions show support for Seneca County's Lago Resort and Casino project

Ellen Abbott
Thomas Wilmot of the Wilmorite Corporation, discusses his plans for the Lago Resort and Casino. He expects the facility to open in early 2016.

Winners of New York state’s casino competition celebrated Thursday. A statewide gaming board this week recommended gaming licenses for three developers across upstate New York, including the proposal from the Rochester-based Wilmorite Corporation to build the Lago Casino and Resort in rural Seneca County.  

While weather kept Gov. Andrew Cuomo from taking part in the Finger Lakes portion of a statewide casino victory lap, unions were out in full force in Seneca County. The potential for jobs for 55 out-of-work electricians has union rep Michael Davis happy.

“They won’t go to work tomorrow, but they know they’re going to be employed in the near future, and that’s huge to them," Davis said. "And I can’t wait for it to start.”

Davis says the project will also help an area that has watched jobs drain away in recent years.

“We haven’t had a very good work situation in this area for, I’d have to say, the last ten years," Davis explained. "This project will give us two, maybe two and a half years of constant employment. And that’s just this project, not any spin-off projects that may happen because of this project.”

Ann Marie Taliercio is president of the union that represents hotel and restaurant workers in central New York.

"We’re hoping for 1,500 permanent jobs once the building is built in the hospitality industry," Taliercio said.

And that could be within a year, if Developer Thomas Wilmot’s timetable holds.

“We believe about 12 months construction period," Wilmot said. "So we’re hoping to open the beginning of ’16.”

Wilmot says work on the $425 million Lago Resort and Casino will begin in earnest after the holidays.

“We’ve already purchased the basic structure," Wilmot said. "We’ve bought the structural steel, the foundation contracts, the roof, all that is already let and there  are contracts in place. So it’s full bore ahead, and hopefully our guys can deliver.”

In all, this casino and resort will feature a hotel, five restaurants, an entertainment venue and gambling. Wilmot is expecting the casino to bring in $300 million in gross revenue a year, 80 percent of that from slots and gaming tables.

Voters last year agreed to allow casino gambling in New York as part of an upstate economic development strategy. If the gamblers come in droves as Wilmot expects, this might not be the end of the story of the Lago Resort and Casino in Tyre.

“You never know," Wilmot said. "It’ll depend on demand. If we’re open and on Friday night every slot has a fanny sitting in front of it, we’ll have to expand. I hope we have that problem.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.