THOMPSON, NY — When Sullivan County officials learned that Albany was deciding which county would receive a prized casino license in 2014, the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development enlisted Capacity Consulting to determine whether Sullivan County met the three criteria set by the state government. Thanks to the work of Capacity Consulting, which examined 26 factors to evaluate and compare six counties, Sullivan County was able to present a strong case, winning out over the other contenders. Albany granted Sullivan County the right to have a casino in December 2014, Sullivan County accepted Resorts World’s proposal in 2015, and Resorts World Catskills opened in Thompson, NY, in February 2018. Sullivan County is already showing signs of vast economic improvement.
“One of the reasons Sullivan County chose Capacity Consulting to do this study was our core value of objectivity,” said Eric Egeland, CEO of Capacity Consulting. “The study wouldn’t even be looked at if it were a PR marketing piece for Sullivan County. It had to be a legitimate competition study amongst the counties vying for a casino license to convince Albany.”
In order to decide where they would grant the right to a casino, officials in Albany established a few criteria, focusing on the marginal propensity to consume (MPC) and the velocity of money — in essence, where the casino dollars would have the biggest impact. Capacity Consulting found that Sullivan County would see the greatest percentage increase in incomes, and residents would spend more of that money overall, meaning that the money would go farther and bring more benefit to the state than in any other county. By showing the methodology behind the results and by producing a detailed and transparent study, Capacity Consulting proved that Sullivan County was by far the best location — and they had the numbers to back it up.
As predicted, Thompson, Sullivan County, the state, and even the other counties have all benefited. Resorts World Catskills has already brought thousands of jobs and millions of dollars to the local economy, and it will bring in an estimated 4 million visitors a year. And that’s just the beginning.
Thousands of people have found permanent jobs working for Resorts World Catskills or for other local businesses in supporting roles. The resort spent over $520 million on construction alone, and many other industries have received an economic boost. Over the coming years, these industries will reap benefits from direct economic activity and indirect and induced economic impact related to the resort. The local accommodations industry, for instance, has a forecasted value added of nearly $180 million, followed by the real estate and rental industry ($11.6 million), retail (nearly $7 million), healthcare and social services (over $5 million), and utilities ($3.6 million). All in all, at full capacity, the resort will support an estimated $371.8 million in sales in Sullivan County, as well as over 2,280 jobs and an increase of $85.6 million in earnings annually.
Aside from the increased economic activity, Sullivan County has received a share of the taxes on the casino. The Upstate New York Gaming and Economic Development Act of 2013 requires that the tax dollars from the casino go back to the community, with 10% set aside for Thompson and Sullivan County and 80% going to the state (the remaining 10% is shared among five other counties).
This robust economic revitalization comes as no surprise to Capacity Consulting, Sullivan County, or the state government. Although Orange County was originally considered a top contender, Capacity Consulting demonstrated that Sullivan County was the best option.
Indeed, as Governor Cuomo said when he announced the grand opening of the resort, “This new resort truly heralds the rebirth of the Catskills, and will serve as an economic driver, generating thousands of jobs and opportunities for people in the region.” With the Catskills becoming a bustling tourist destination once again, the future looks bright in Sullivan County.