Turning Stone Resort & Casino
|Turning Stone Resort & Casino|
Table-level view of live poker at Turning Stone
Location in central New York
|Location||Verona, New York|
|Address||5218 Patrick Road|
|Opening date||July 16, 1993|
|Owner||Oneida Indian Nation|
The facility opened 22 years ago in 1993 on July 16, and offers golf amenities (on- and off-site golf courses, one of PGA Tour quality, and an indoor golf dome), an RV park, an amusement arcade, many restaurants, spas, Bingo, Keno, table games, and many types of reel and video slot machines. Until the Seneca Niagara Casino opened in 2002, it was the only land-based casino in New York. The resort is a popular tourist destination in central New York State and has received numerous awards in the industry.
Construction and expansion
The casino, and associated hotel for visitors and conventions, was conceived as a revenue-generating enterprise to aid in economic and social development of the Oneida Indian Nation. It was developed at a time when Native American sovereignty and the right to establish gaming casinos on reservations had survived court challenges. Development of the casino was opposed by some both within and outside the Oneida Nation. As a fall-back plan, the Oneida Indian Nation had the casino designed so that it could be adapted as a small shopping mall, if necessary.
The land upon which the Casino is located on was acquired from Ibrahim Batca and his family in two transactions in 1992 and 1993. Construction of an on-site hotel and a bingo hall began in 1994. The Bingo Hall's construction was completed in 1995. Disagreements over the hotel plans delayed its construction for a year. The hotel's original design plans had the hotel and casino separate, connected only by an outdoor walkway. Because of the delay, the hotel plans were re-designed to combine the hotel and casino into one structure. This new design allowed the Oneida Indian Nation to offer more services, including a pool, a spa, and a gym. Additionally, the combination created a larger and more formal lobby to serve both the hotel and casino to be one structure.
In 1997, the Oneidas paid for construction of a water tower near the casino and donated it to the Town of Verona, as one of their community contributions. The water tower has a capacity to hold 1,000,000 gallons of water. In 2005 the Nation consumed 600,000 gallons per day, which was four times the amount guaranteed to them under an agreement with the Town of Verona. In about July 2005 the Town of Verona notified the Nation that after 5:00 p.m. on August 2, 2005, the water would be shut off after the tribe had used the 150,000 gallons of water that is guaranteed under the agreement. Just hours before this deadline, the Oneida tribe began paying for a new water pump to be installed to provide the needed water capacity for the casino and resort.
In 2002, construction of a gaming expansion and showroom were completed to provide the only Ticketmaster-approved venue in the area. The popularity of the casino provided sufficient revenue for the OIN to build second and third hotels at the site to satisfy demand. Construction of the new hotel was finished in late 2004. One of the hotels is the tallest structure between Syracuse and Albany to serve the common guest; the other hotel is a luxury resort that caters to golf customers and fans.
The casino hosts several shows throughout the year, featuring musicians (KISS, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Fergie, Mariah Carey, Gwen Stefani, No Doubt, Jordin Sparks, Alicia Keys & Wayne Newton), comedians (Bill Cosby) and other entertainment groups (Purrrfect Angels). The Irish Rovers play their two 2014 St Patrick's Day Concerts at the resort.
The resort's Atunyote Golf Club, located on tribal land, hosted the Turning Stone Resort Championship, a PGA Tour event, from 2007 through 2010. It was dropped from the tour schedule over a 2011 scheduling dispute. In 2006, it hosted the B.C. Open on the PGA Tour in July and the PGA Professional National Championship, which returns in 2016.
Alcohol and smoking
On October 3, 2007, the New York State Liquor Authority denied the Oneida Nation’s applications to serve alcohol at their golf courses. After delaying a decision for a month, the liquor board told the Oneida Indian Nation it cannot issue permits while unsettled sovereignty issues between the tribe and the state (related to land issues) are being litigated in court. "The Liquor Authority said the applications were disapproved without prejudice, and the Nation can reapply for the licenses after the reservation issue is solved."
While the Nation's applications were pending before the Liquor Authority, the Resort did not allow any kind of alcohol on the premises, as part of their application. Since the Liquor Authority's denial on the applications, the Oneida Indian Nation has lifted the alcohol ban in the resort.
Smoking is allowed around the resort; non-smoking sections have been established and expanded in all areas.
- Four Diamond ratings from AAA for the resort’s luxury hotels and one of its restaurants;
- Academy of Country Music’s Casino of the Year; and
- All three of Turning Stone’s championship-caliber golf courses were included in Golfweek magazine’s list of Top 100 courses in the country.
- The Nation’s Atunyote Golf Course hosts both the Turning Stone Resort Championship and the annual Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge charity event.
In popular culture
- American metal band, Bible of the Devil, recorded a song about the casino, titled "The Turning Stone". It appears on their 2008 album Freedom Metal.
- "Jackpot: Conventions become a bigger part of casino business", Empire Monthly
- Deeds on file in the Oneida County Clerk's Office in Book of Deeds, volume 2627, page 94 and Book of Deeds volume 2657, page 653
- "Hayner Hoyt builds relationship with Oneida Nation"
- Oneida Indian Nation Water Pump, Madison County website
- "Tribe to give workers a bonus", Times Union, 30 January 2005
- "Gaming aside, the Oneidas are betting on golf", Boston.com, 18 April 18, 2004
- "Turning Stone event drops off PGA Tour schedule in dispute over dates". PGA of America. Associated Press. 2010. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- "Turning Stone to host 2016 PGA Professional National Championship". PGA of America. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- "State denies all 6 Nation liquor license applications", Utica OD
- "Turning Stone Asks for Liquor", Syracuse Blog