Three casino giants are competing over the rare chance of bringing a Las Vegas-style casino to New York City.
Currently, Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands and Bally’s Corp. are all trying to find the best position to compete for a casino license in the area of New York City, while waiting for Albany to give the start of the request-for-proposal phase as soon as April. Reportedly, the gambling companies’ efforts so far have included them addressing potential developer partners and talking to local politicians, trying to convince them to back their proposals.
The competition between the three casino giants comes as Albany is dealing with a massive budget deficit of $15 billion and a struggle to create new jobs in the state that has been suffering the strong negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic outbreak. The financial hardships have motivated some lawmakers to make a decision for issuing three gaming licenses for downstate New York City by the end of 2021 instead of in 2023 as it was initially planned.
Two of the three casino operating licenses are set to be given straight to gambling businesses that have already received permission to run slot machines in the area that encompasses the city, Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley – Empire City Casino in Yonkers that is owned and run by the MGM Resorts and Queens-based Resorts World Aqueduct racino.
Moratorium on Three Downstate Casino Licenses to Expire in 2023
With two of the casino licenses for the downstate New York City area having already found their holders, this would leave only one license for the Las Vegas gambling giants who are willing to start offering all kinds of casino games to the city or its neighboring Nassau County.
In an exclusive interview for The Post, the CEO and chair of the Las Vegas Sands, Robert Goldstein, explained that his company remains focused on setting foot in the state after the sale of its Las Vegas properties a week ago. Mr. Goldstein said that Las Vegas Sands would seek to bring its resources and expertise to the city of New York in a move that could create thousands of new jobs and fresh revenue to the state and help it recover from the strong negative effect that the Covid-19 pandemic.
For the time being, neither one of the two other companies that are reportedly interested in establishing a presence in NYC – Bally’s Corp. and Wynn Resorts – has publicly commented on its plans for possible pursuit of the casino license.
The competition to establish a casino in the state started in 2013, after a constitutional amendment allowed the state authorities to issue a total of seven casino licenses. The licenses for the four upstate casinos were issued first, but then a moratorium was placed on the three remaining licenses for downstate casinos following concern they would offset the profits of the upstate players.
This moratorium is set to expire in two years, in 2023. Nevertheless, Governor Andrew Cuomo wanted to make the process faster, saying that the addition of three more casino venues would bring fresh revenue to the state, helping it to overcome the budget deficit it has been facing lately.