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Casino

Thomas C. Wilmot Sr., co-chair of del Lago Resort & Casino, speaks on the casino's opening day, Feb. 1, 2017. 

The Wilmots will no longer share ownership of del Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County. 

The family, led by Wilmorite Chairman Thomas Wilmot Sr., will sell its equity shares in the casino to its co-owner Peninsula Pacific, a California-based investment firm. 

M. Brent Stevens, chairman and managing partner of Peninsula Pacific, said the Tyre Town Board on Thursday approved a resolution that allows the transfer. 

"This will position Peninsula Pacific as the sole owner of the property and signals our further commitment to be the premier source of gaming and entertainment in the Finger Lakes region," Stevens said. 

The Wilmots' involvement in the project dates back to late 2013 when the casino was first proposed. Wilmot Sr. sought one of four state gaming licenses to operate a casino in upstate New York. 

In December 2015, the state Gaming Commission awarded Wilmorite a license to construct the Seneca County casino. 

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The $440 million casino opened in February 2017. On the facility's opening day, Wilmot called it "very exciting." Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who supported the construction of upstate casinos, attended the event. 

But the casino has experienced mixed success in two years of operation. While Stevens notes the project created nearly 2,000 direct and indirect jobs, del Lago brought in less revenue than expected in its first year and Moody's Investors Service downgraded its financial ratings in January. 

There have been changes at del Lago this year. Lance Young was named vice president and general manager — the third person to lead the casino in two years. MacKenzie-Childs, a Cayuga County-based company, closed its shop inside the casino. The Vine Restaurant and Bar closed in May as the casino constructs a 6,000-square-foot sports wagering lounge that will open later this summer. 

Stevens said Peninsula Pacific is eager to "continuing to be a good neighbor and part of the fabric of the Finger Lakes region." He also praised the Wilmots for being "instrumental" in del Lago's development. 

In a statement, Wilmot Sr. said his family is proud of its role in the development of del Lago. 

"Del Lago Resort & Casino is good for our community — it has created employment opportunities, an entertainment destination and a new stream of revenue for the town and county," Wilmot said. "The continued success of del Lago is good for everyone in the Finger Lakes region." 

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Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.