Turning Stone, Two Other Upstate New York Casinos, Announce June 10 Reopenings

Gaming News Gaming News

By Devin O’Connor

Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, Yellow Brick Road Casino & Sports Book in Chittenango, and Point Place Casino in Bridgeport – three Upstate New York properties owned by the Oneida Nation – plan to reopen on Wednesday, June 10.

The first tribal casino operator in New York to suspend its gaming operations is also the first to announce reopening dates. The three Native American casinos have been closed since March 16.

“This initial reopening is part of a multi-phased approach to restore full operations at the Oneida Indian Nation’s award-winning New York properties, with a focus on the health and safety of guests and employees,” a statement on each casino website explains.

The determination to open on June 10th follows the Oneida Indian Nation’s careful monitoring of the reopening of businesses in Central New York, with specific attention to the metrics New York State and the local counties have published on a daily basis,” the notice added.

Turning Stone is the largest of the three casinos, the gaming floor measuring 125,000 square feet, with 2,000 slot machines and 100 table games. Yellow Brick Road and Point Place each have approximately 500 slots and 20 tables.

Tribal Unrest

Unlike commercial casinos, gaming properties owned by Native Americans do not have to follow state orders.

New York’s four upstate commercial casinos – Rivers, Tioga Downs, Resorts World Catskills, and del Lago – as well as the two downstate racinos, Empire City and Resorts World New York City, remain closed for the foreseeable future on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) orders. But the tribal casinos throughout the upstate are legally allowed to open whenever they wish.

Tribes across the northeast are growing impatient, as casinos are their main economic resource. Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in neighboring Connecticut announced their reopenings slated for June 1, a decision Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) called “incredibly risky.”

The Oneida Nation has issued a “Safer Together” plan to reopen its three casinos. Access will be limited to those who reside within 120 miles of the properties. Face coverings are mandatory for all employees and guests, and workers who have direct contract with patrons will wear gloves. Social distancing will be maintained throughout.

During the initial opening, Oneida Nation’s golf courses will remain closed, as will its sportsbooks, salons, retail shops, and pools.

Others to Follow?

The Seneca Nation of Indians, the largest of the six Native American groups in New York, hasn’t yet announced plans to reopen its three casinos. Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls, Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in Buffalo, and Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino in Salamanca have been closed since March 16.

Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort in Hogansburg, owned by the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, also remains shuttered.

Lakeside Entertainment, a Class II gaming facility that offers electronic bingo machines, reopened May 15. The Union Springs venue is owned by the Cayuga Nation.