From the Morning Memo:

The financially struggling del Lago Casino in the Finger Lakes region has asked state legislative leaders and the governor’s office for assistance. While the casino has not said specifically what it is asking for it would appear to be seeking a lower tax rate in the face of lower-than-expected revenues.

Del Lago spokesman Steven Greenberg said the casino has a competitive disadvantage due to changes in circumstance with casinos operated by the Seneca Nation that didn’t exist when the state first awarded its gaming license. The Nation last year argued that its obligation to New York expired, and it stopped paying a portion of slot revenues. That dispute is currently in arbitration.

“The Seneca Nation stopped making payments to both New York State and to the local governments last year” Greenberg said. “What are they doing with that newfound windfall? Using more than $50 million to provide additional promotions and incentives – particularly in the Rochester area – to lure customers from del Lago. And it’s working. Del Lago can compete on an even playing field but not one that’s tipped so heavily toward the Senecas.”

The Senecas, responding to the accusations, said del Lago is wholly responsible for its failure to meet its own projections. Spokesman Phil Pantano said the casino had unrealistic expectations from the get go when it applied for its license.

“Despite various concerns that were raised, the project was approved by the state,” Pantano said. “Del Lago’s estimates were that they were going to take significant market share from both the Seneca Nation’s operations in Western New York and from the Oneida operations in Central New York. On top of that, their projections also called for significant new outside revenue.”

“Which of those promises did they fail to live up to? The numbers don’t lie. The projections haven’t materialized, falling short by some 44 percent, and now, del Lago is turning to the State to fund their failure to meet their own goals.”

Del Lago opened roughly a year ago. In February, Moody’s downgraded the casino’s long-term outlook from stable to negative.

According the the Democrat and Chronicle, state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said providing assistance to casinos is part of the budget negotiations. But members of his own conference – most notably, Sen. Joe Griffo – are pushing back on any idea of a bailout.

Also, Western New York Republican Ray Walter tweeted that no tax dollars should be directed to del Lago or any other “Cuomo Casino no matter how much they’ve paid off Cuomo and the Legislative Leaders.”