Key Casino Developers Meet
With County Tourism Leaders
By JIM KEVLIN • allotsego.com
COOPERSTOWN – The two leading heavy hitters in the proposed Howe Caverns Casino & Resort in Schoharie County were in Cooperstown yesterday, the first step in the possible development of a regional strategy to promote and benefit from the operation.
The two were Mike Malik of NAG Development, Detroit, which has been building casinos in the U.S. and abroad since the 1990s, and Jim Dacey, vice president/development for Full House Resorts, Miami.
The two met Wednesday morning for breakfast with Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz; Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller was invited, but cancelled at the last minute.
Malik and Dacey then met with Deb Taylor, executive director of Destination Otsego, the executives from the Otsego Chamber, Barbara Ann Heegan, and the Cooperstown chamber, Matt Hazzard, and Vince Casale of Casale Consultants, which helped develop Full House’s New York State application (and also chairs of the county Republican Committee).
County IDA President Sandy Mathes, who helped arrange the meeting, said the idea was to see, if the casino wins state approval, whether there are any possible collaborations with tourist interests here, in particular in the shoulder seasons and the winter.
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Taylor called the information presented “really impressive,” but said it is too early to tell whether anything will come out of what she described as a very preliminary conversation.
In addition to collaboration on tourism, Mathes said the IDA is exploring where there is any potential to train casino workers at the Susquehanna Regional Business Center it is developing on the fifth floor of 189 Main St., Oneonta.