Your Stories: Sovereign nation casinos are open but what about state casinos?

Your Stories

WATERLOO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Casinos on sovereign land like Turning Stone have been up and running for nearly two months since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But there is still no indication from the state on when del Lago and other commercial casinos will get the green light to welcome visitors again.

Valerie McIntyre is a table game supervisor at del Lago and has been earning her pay there for three years. It’s a career she loves and says changed her life for the better.

But when COVID-19 hit, silencing the slot machines and clearing the gambling tables, McIntyre became one of more than 1,000 casino employees who got laid off.

According to the NYS Department of Labor, del Lago has laid off a total of 1,077 employees since April 9, and layoffs are expected to last for an “undetermined period.”

“Now, the worry beings. How do you pay your rent? How do you buy your food? How do you assist your families,” asked McIntyre.

There seem to be no answers in sight for McIntyre as the economic hardship becomes more real and her unemployment runs low, and it goes beyond just the financial impact.

The loneliness… The not knowing… The fact that I’m 60 years old and this is my second career. This is my life. del Lago has saved my life.

Valerie McIntyre, Table Game Supervisor, del Lago

In a statement to NewsChannel 9, del Lago’s General Manager said the casino is ready to reopen.

As part of New York State’s efforts to flatten the curve, del Lago Resort & Casino was ordered to close on March 16. Because of Governor Cuomo’s leadership during this time, our State that was once a hotspot for the virus has become a model for the rest of the nation. del Lago is eager to open its doors to our community and has developed a blueprint called the EXTRA CARE program that meets or exceeds CDC and OSHA guidelines to ensure the safety of every guest and staff member. We hope that we can soon reopen, welcome back our employees and guests, and continue to bring economic benefits to the Finger Lakes.

Lance Young, Executive Vice President & General Manager, del Lago Resort & Casino

“We want to be back to work. This is absolutely a matter of life or giving up…and at this point, I can’t give up,” said McIntyre.

Hoping the state takes a chance so she and many others can get back to work.

McIntyre and her colleagues created the petition below.

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