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Senator Libous Remains Neutral on Casino License

As the competition for a Southern Tier casino license intensifies, don't expect state lawmakers to play a public role in determining the winner.
As the competition for a Southern Tier casino license intensifies, don't expect state lawmakers to play a public role in determining the winner.

State Senator Tom Libous says legislators will not be involved in the decision. Instead, an independent site selection committee within the state gaming commission will award the potentially lucrative licenses.

Tioga Downs in Nichols was an early supporter of Proposition 1 which amended the state constitution to allow non-Indian casinos. The Visram brothers, owners of the Holiday Inn Arena, have also expressed an interest. Last week, Traditions at the Glen, owned by the Walsh family, entered the fray with its own proposal.

Libous, whose legislation helped reopen Tioga Downs in 2006, says he plans to remain neutral on the issue.

"Do I have a little spot in my heart for Tioga Downs? Yes. If I didn't say that, I wouldn't be honest. However, Mr. Walsh seemed to do a very exciting proposal the other day. He has every right to put his proposal on the table and vie for a license. Mr. Visram and his brother are said to be interested in a license. They have every right to do that," said Libous.

Libous says each competitor will be required to pay a million dollar application fee just to be considered. Once awarded, the licensing fee is expected to cost in the tens of millions of dollars.
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