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What you need to know for 06/28/2017

Rivers Casino sets Feb. 8 opening date

Casino

Rivers Casino sets Feb. 8 opening date

Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady will officially open Feb. 8, officials announced Wednesday.
Rivers Casino sets Feb. 8 opening date
Gelesi Group President and CEO David Buicko speaks after the announcement of the opening date of the Rivers Casino & Resort
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

Editor's note: This story was corrected at 5:22 p.m. on Nov. 16. A previous version included an incorrect size for casino's banquet area.

SCHENECTADY — Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady will officially open Feb. 8, officials announced Wednesday.

The grand opening date was revealed at an event outside the casino, which is located on the Mohawk Harbor site along Erie Boulevard. Casino executives and local leaders popped champagne and celebrated the announcement as a milestone for the region.

“Our team can’t wait to show Rivers Casino & Resort to the Capital Region for the first time,” said resort General Manager Mary Cheeks.

She added that she’s hopeful visitors will realize it’s more than just a gaming center; it is also a 24-hour entertainment hub that will offer dining and other amenities.

With leaders from the city and county looking on, Cheeks pulled a lever in front of the casino entrance, triggering video of a slot machine that revealed the grand opening date on a large LED sign.

The casino received approval in December 2015 for its gaming license. Its adjacent hotel, with 165 rooms, is on track for a June opening.

 

The $330 million casino project will feature about 65 table games, more than 1,100 slot machines and a high-limit area. Dining establishments and a 10,000-square foot banquet area to accommodate larger events will also open to the public on Feb. 8.

Specific food vendors were announced earlier this month and will include local favorites Johnny’s and Villa Italia, both holdovers from Rush Street Gaming’s Illinois property, and Dukes Chophouse, a casual steakhouse. The Mallozzi Restaurant Group will oversee the dining options.

Rivers has a little more than 1,000 jobs to fill and has commitments on about 50 percent of them so far, Cheeks said. She anticipated about 85 percent of the positions will be filled over the next month, and all hiring will be done by the end of January.

The casino hosted a job fair in early October that drew nearly 1,000 applicants.

The gaming facility will become the second operation to open on the Mohawk Harbor site, much of which is being developed by the Rotterdam-based Galesi Group. The Courtyard by Marriott at Mohawk Harbor officially opened about a month ago.

“This is not about a casino; this is about a regional asset,” said David Buicko, CEO of the Galesi Group, referencing the ongoing work at the Mohawk Harbor site.

Most other projects, including a luxury apartment complex and retail and office developments, are expected to be complete in the summer. Details on possible retail tenants on the site will be announced in coming weeks, Buicko said.

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