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Proposed Howe Caverns casino operator up for sale

Proposed Howe Caverns casino operator up for sale

The company that wants to run a casino at Howe Caverns is now up for sale.
Proposed Howe Caverns casino operator up for sale
A rendering of the proposed Howe Caverns Resort and Casino.

The company that wants to run a casino at Howe Caverns is now up for sale.

Full House Resorts of Las Vegas is looking to operate a casino at the tourist attraction in Schoharie County, vying for what is expected to be the only casino license awarded in the Capital Region by the state Gaming Commission. Now, the company, which operates casinos in Indiana, Mississippi and Nevada, is on the market.

The listing comes as the state Gaming Facility Location Board is preparing to recommend up to four projects for licenses in the Capital Region, Hudson Valley and Southern Tier in coming weeks.

“After its evaluation of strategic alternatives, the board of directors has determined that pursuing a sale of the company is the best course of action to maximize stockholder value and is accordingly in the best interest of all stockholders,” Full House said in a statement Wednesday.

Michael Malik, a Michigan casino developer who is a partner and would-be owner of the proposed Howe Caverns casino, said he is interested in acquiring the company.

“The reason we chose Full House Resorts to be our partner in New York is because of their excellent reputation as a casino operator and strong management team,” Malik said. “Full House is neither an equity partner or owner in our New York projects. Their potential future sale will not affect our New York opportunities.”

Officials at the state Gaming Commission declined to comment Wednesday.

On Monday, the Gaming Facility Location Board met in executive session to discuss “the financial history of particular persons or corporations, specifically applicants responsive to the request for applications to develop and operate a gaming facility in New York State,” according to the meeting agenda.

Ryan Moses, managing director of Park Strategies, the firm contracted by Malik for the Howe Caverns casino proposal, said he believes the sale does not affect their application with the state Gaming Commission.

“They are not the equity partner for the project; they would just be the operator,” Moses said. “It has nothing to do with the sale of the company. They will still be a gaming company and still operate casinos no matter who the new owner would be.”

Full House announced it’s for sale a couple of weeks after a group of shareholders, who hold about 15 percent of the company, said they are seeking to change Full House’s board of directors due to the declining value of the company’s stock.

The proposed Howe Caverns Resort and Casino would be operated by Full House and owned by Malik. The casino would house up to 1,500 slot machines and 60 table games, with a 254-room hotel, three restaurants and other amenities.

“The company’s recent announcement regarding a sales process does not impact day-to-day operations,” Full House said in a statement. “The company remains committed to exploring further growth opportunities in New York. The company remains financially strong and committed to managing its properties.”

Casinos are also being proposed at de Laet’s Landing in Rensselaer by Hard Rock, on Thompson Hill in East Greenbush by Saratoga Harness Racing and Churchill Downs, and at the former Alco site in Schenectady by the Galesi Group and Rush Street Gaming.

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