Furloughed workers, officials gather for rally in front of Del Lago to reopen commercial casinos in New York

Employees from Del Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County rallied on Thursday calling for Governor Andrew Cuomo to reopen commercially operated gaming facilities in New York.

So far, it’s something Governor Cuomo has not been interested in doing. When pressed on the matter earlier in the month, the Governor noted that it wasn’t safe to reopen casinos. He also noted that facilities like Del Lago, and New York’s other commercially operated gaming facilities were not ‘essential enough’.

At the time it was a point that workers at these casinos disagreed with.

On Thursday, workers made it clear that they are trying to provide for their families, and cannot do so on the limited income they are seeing. In short, they desperately need the casino and resort in Tyre to reopen.

Congressman Tom Reed (R-23) joined the rally, and called for the casino to be reopened. “We stand with you, we stand with our local officials, and stand with our state officials and are demanding to let you back to control your future lives,” Reed said over a megaphone to the cheering crowd.

Photo by Greg Cotterill, Finger Lakes News Radio.

Native American casinos in New York have been operating since mid-June. They haven’t reported any uptick in cases, but are not obligated to follow state law or rules with regard to operation.

Seneca County could lose upwards of $2.5 million as result of the closure, which includes a hotel on-site at the Del Lago property.

Earlier this week the Seneca County Board of Supervisors approved sending a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, calling for the immediate reopening of Del Lago. It was a position that Public Health Director Vickie Swinehart asked the Board to delay until October during committee debate. Her concern was that with back to school ramping up in the coming weeks, if the Governor were to act on such a letter, and grant reopening permission to Del Lago, that a combination of those factors could cause an uptick in cases.

However, that request was denied.

New York State Assemblyman Brian Manktelow was also at the rally. “We should not be out here. Each and every one of you should be inside that gorgeous building behind us,” he said, being greeted with cheers. “[Del Lago] should be reopened. There’s no reason why one person in New York State should be keeping each and every one of you from working at this facility.”

At this point, more than 1,000 workers are furloughed at Del Lago. Per a WARN notice earlier this summer, those furloughs would become permanent cuts if not ended within six months of their start.

Check out the letter and resolution passed by the supervisors below, as well as more photos from Thursday’s rally:

Photo by Greg Cotterill, Finger Lakes News Radio.
Photo by Greg Cotterill, Finger Lakes News Radio.