he del Lago Resort & Casino off Thruway Exit 41 reported that guests spent nearly $32.9 million on the slot machines and roughly $3.7 million more at the casino’s 77 table games from Jan. 31 to Feb. 5.
The figures include activity on Jan. 31, when the casino held a soft opening, but excludes the amount spent at 12 poker tables, which was not provided.
During that time, del Lago generated roughly $3.3 million in pretax gambling revenue after paying out winnings. The casino’s 2,001 slot machines had an average daily win of $252 per unit.
Those numbers smashed those of the smaller Tioga Downs, which opened late last year and saw roughly $10 million spent in its first three-and-a-half days leading to a pretax gross of nearly $828,000.
Del Lago General Manager Jeff Babinski added that roughly $800,000 in jackpots, with the largest totaling $50,000, have been paid out through early Sunday.
"We have had an incredible first week in business and we are appreciative to everyone who has come out," Babinski said.
"We have had a steady flow of excited guests since we opened our doors"
Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack, located less than 30 miles west of del Lago, has seen a drop-off since the casino’s opening, said Steve Martin, a spokesman for Finger Lakes.
Finger Lakes, operated by Delaware North, has about 1,550 video lottery terminals. It grossed $129 million in its 2015-2016 fiscal year, paying out 69 percent in taxes to the state and another 10 percent to support purses for thoroughbred racing.
"We have seen a decline in customer traffic and revenue since del Lago's opening as expected, however the true impact will not be determined for several months as they continue to open various amenities and further develop their marketing," said Martin.
State leaders, officials with Delaware North, a union representing 1,200 workers and others have been in talks to further protect purses at the racetrack, long feared in danger by the presence of a new full-fledged casino.
State Sen. Rich Funke, R-Perinton, introduced legislation calling on the state to give USD 3M to support the track with monies for a Thoroughbred Breeding and Development fund
The racetrack has yet to announce an opening date or the number of days it will hold racing for the upcoming season.
Del Lago was one of four to receive a license after New Yorkers voted to allow casinos in a statewide referendum in 2013. The casino was backed by Pittsford resident and local mall mogul Thomas C. Wilmot and Brent Stevens of Peninsula Pacific.
The property opened on Feb. 1, with a 205-room hotel still under construction and slated to open sometime during the summer. The casino expects to serve roughly 3.2 million guests and gross $263 million in its first year.
Under state law, the casino pays a tax rate of 37 percent on its gross gambling revenues from slot machines and 10 percent from table games. Those taxes will be split, with the majority going to the state. Other tax money will go to the town of Tyre, Seneca County, and other counties.
Slot machines at del Lago are required to pay out a minimum of 85 percent. Meanwhile, prizes for video lottery terminals must average no less than 90 percent of sales
Del Lago’s opening hasn’t been without some hiccups, even with an overwhelming majority of the roughly 650 posts on its Facebook page through Sunday having generated positive reviews.
Some common complaints have focused on the skill of the table dealers and the labeling of food items in the buffet. Del Lago began another session of its free dealer's school on Feb. 6. It’s the fourth session it has held to train and hire dealers.
It has been shuttling roughly 1,500 workers from a nearby truck stop to help ease on-site traffic and parking issues, in anticipation of large crowds.
"Our team members are continuing to develop and fine-tune their skills," Babinksi said. "Our employees' energy level is high and they are energized and excited."