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Tribal casinos are open across NYS, but no clear open date set for non-tribal facilities

The Oneida Nation’s three casinos in Central New York reopened earlier this month. The Seneca Nation’s three casinos in Western New York also reopened. The Cayuga Nation has reopened it’s gaming facility in Union Springs.

All of those facilities reopened on a ‘limited’ basis, but did so against New York State guidance.

During one of his final press briefings as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded – Governor Andrew Cuomo said that he could not impose any closure or restrictions on them.

But that hasn’t prevented them from operating or profitting.

The state’s commercial gaming facilities – like del Lago Resort & Casino in Tyre, Seneca County – are still waiting for guidance from New York State. While there was some hope that del Lago and other commercial casinos would be included in ‘Phase 4’ of economic reopening – that didn’t come to pass.

The state’s position is that malls, casinos, and other large gathering spaces will be reopened in the ‘Phase 4’ process, but not at the start of it.

“Areas such as the malls, gyms, movie theaters, casinos, will not open on the first day of phase four, but will open at some time during phase four,” former lieutenant governor Bob Duffy told WXXI. “Phase 4 could last two months, it could last three months. There won’t be a Phase 5, so it’s going to be a gradation of certain activities just based on some of the research and feedback that the state is getting. And really it’s the measurement of these activities, region by region.”

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Seneca County Board of Supervisors – that point was debated. While some supervisors wanted to see a letter be drafted and sent to Governor Cuomo requesting that del Lago be reopened – others considered it to be too soon based on public health data.

Meanwhile, gaming facilities in neighboring states have reopened.

The Governor has not issued any guidance on a timeline for reopening commercial gaming facilities in New York.