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Paterson Expected To Announce Deal On Catskills Casino

(AP Photo/Bradley C Bower)

(AP Photo/Bradley C Bower)

Tony Aiello thumbnail Tony Aiello
Tony Aiello serves as a CBS 2 general assignment reporter. After...
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BRIDGEVILLE, N.Y. (CBS 2) — The odds have improved for a casino in the Catskills.

CBS 2 has confirmed that Governor Paterson will make a major announcement Monday, and that if Washington gets in on the game, a casino could open as soon as 2012.

Bungalow communities have been shuttered and resort hotels torn down as the one-time tourist Mecca of the Catskills has been down on its luck.

The area is betting, however, that long-time plans for casino gambling will pay off next year, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

“About a year and a half later, the first roll of the dice,” Tony Cellini said.

Cellini runs the town where the casino is proposed. It’s just 90 miles from Manhattan’s Times Square to Bridgeville in Sullivan County.

Governor Paterson is expected to announce the deal on Monday.

On land near Route 17, the Stockbridge Munsee Indians will build a $700 million casino resort – and pay the state about $100 million a year.

“I’ll believe it when they put the first shovel in the ground,” one resident said.

The resident said other deals have died because the feds wouldn’t approve them.

Senator Charles Schumer has been working that angle.

“While I couldn’t say for sure, things are looking quite positive,” Sen. Schumer said.

The Sullivan County economy has been suffering hard times, but a casino would create hundreds of jobs, helping everyone from construction workers to local farmers.

“If this casino would buy local, think about what it would do for the farmers in my region,” State Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther said. “It would be tremendous.”

Assemblywoman Gunther said it’s more urgent than ever to get the casinos in the Catskills because Pennsylvania now has them in the Poconos – also just 90 miles from Midtown.

The news has residents and officials in Catskills hoping their luck has finally turned.

The feds are being asked to approve a complicated deal where the Indian tribe gets a casino in exchange for dropping its claim to 24,000 acres of land upstate.