- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 22, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Caesars Entertainment entered the competition to open a casino in upstate New York on Tuesday with a proposal to build a $750 million complex 50 miles north of New York City.

The complex would include a casino, a hotel and a meeting space and would be located in Woodbury, in Orange County. The Las Vegas-based Caesars, which operates 52 casinos around the world, has submitted a $1 million casino license application fee to state gambling regulators, Caesars spokesman Gary Thompson said Tuesday.

Wednesday is the deadline to pay the application fee for groups contending to open one of four casinos planned for upstate.

A state constitutional amendment passed last year authorizes up to seven full-scale, non-Indian casinos overall. The state is starting with four, to be divided among the Albany-Saratoga area, the Catskills and the Southern Tier. Selections will be made this fall. The state already hosts several racetracks with slot machines in addition to tribal casinos.

Supporters of the gambling expansion, including Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, have touted it as a way to boost the economies in struggling upstate communities.

The Catskills region, with its proximity to New York City, was shaping up to be the most competitive region even before Caesars announced its proposal. At least seven groups have expressed interest in building a casino there, and two other groups have already submitted application fees: Empire Resorts and investors who want to open a casino at the site of an old Nevele resort.

The owners of Broome County’s Traditions Resort and Conference Center said they also have paid the fee for their Southern Tier proposal.

The New York State Gaming Commission plans to release the names of groups that have submitted application fees on Thursday.