- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - After a yearlong wait, three casino projects planned for upstate New York are set to get the official go-ahead from state gambling regulators.

The Gaming Commission is expected to vote on awarding state casino licenses at a meeting Monday in New York City to the Montreign Resort Casino in the Catskills, Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady, and Lago Resort and Casino in the Finger Lakes town of Tyre.

While some preliminary work already has begun, formal licensure will allow the projects to move forward with construction and financing. The casinos are expected to be operating within two years.

A state casino location board endorsed the proposals a year ago. Since then, the state has conducted background checks of developers and reviewed the final details of the three projects.

While some local officials expressed concerns about the time it took to finalize the licenses, state officials urged patience, noting that in states like Massachusetts, the casino licensing process has stretched on for years.

“There is no delay,” Robert Williams, the commission’s executive director, wrote this week in a letter to a county official in the Catskills who wanted an explanation for the wait. “We are moving swiftly.”

If the timeframe has irritated the casino developers, they aren’t letting on publicly.

“We are looking forward to the Gaming Commission’s meeting,” Lago spokesman Steven Greenberg said. “We are excited about the opportunity … to build and operate the best casino in upstate New York.

A fourth casino license is expected to be issued in 2016 to Tioga Downs, a horse track and slot parlor in the Southern Tier that plans to expand into a full Las Vegas-style gambling facility.

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