Vernon Downs Hotel Casino Gives New York’s Department of Labor A WARN Notice

Vernon Downs Hotel Casino Gives New York's Department of Labor A WARN Notice

Vernon Downs Hotel Casino Gives New York’s Department of Labor A WARN Notice

Vernon Downs Hotel Casino recently issued the New York State Department of Labor a WARN notice showing that it will discharge its 294 employees and shut down by December 31, 2023. The notice stated that the casino, Triple 777 Café, Ring Eyed Pete’s, and the Champions Buffet will close on August 1.

Its other dining choices and racetrack will shut down on September 18. The other sections of the hotel and casino will close on December 31. Jeff Gural, Vernon Downs’ CEO, and President, wants the lawmakers to offer relief.
His statement shows that Vernon hired 250 community members in 2022. It generated $13 million in tax revenue for the state and made a $2 million loss.

The executive added that the Coronavirus pandemic adversely affected the casino, and it cannot continue operating without tax relief even though it is concerned about the local community’s welfare. He is optimistic that the Legislature and Governor will consider their plea since Vernon boosts Oneida County’s economy.

Is Tax Relief Necessary?

Workers United Upstate New York represents Vernon Downs’ staff, and it stated on Thursday that the racino needs more agent commission. This is the net win portion that casinos receive for operating a gaming property. The workers’ union wants New York to give the casino a $2 million tax review and return the initial 6.4 percent agent’s commission fee.

The Casino’s Closure’s Impact on the Local Economy

Supervisor Randy Watson from Vernon Town, Mayor Joe D’Agostino, and Vernon Village officials believe that the casino’s closure will hurt the region’s economy. The mayor and supervisor stated at an August 2020 rally to reopen the casino that it is the biggest employer in the area. Also, about half of its workers live in the city.

Watson stated that its closure will make Vernon lose gaming revenue. The casino’s income funds about 15 percent of Vernon’s budget.

D’Agostino added that by last August, the gaming operator funded 18 percent of Vernon Village’s budget. It is part of the Greater Oneida Chamber, but its officials stated that the casino hasn’t notified them about its plan to close.

How Is the Casino’s Future?

Workers United revealed that the New York State Gaming Commission committed to raising the agent commission fee by 6.4 percent of the lottery’s net win if the casino retained 90 percent of its full-time workers in 2016. But, it revoked the fee after a while.

Dale Nicholas, Vernon Downs Union’s steward and lead line cook, stated that he has worked at the property for over a decade. He began his career as a dishwasher and gradually rose to be one of its head cooks. The worker is demoralized by the casino’s upcoming closure and wants New York to help it.

The casino’s predicament touched the hearts of several politicians, including Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, who expressed her support last week. She said that she will partner with her colleagues to rescue Vernon Downs Hotel Casino. Retaining its staff will be their key priority before they end the legislative session on June 8.

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