Leading lawmakers, supported by the hotel and casino workers union, are now urging the state Legislature and Governor Kathy Hochul to be more proactive and grant 3 casino operating permits in the region of New York City by the end of 2022.
The move comes after the state’s gambling regulatory body allowed the much-awaited mobile sports betting services to become available during the weekend, triggering gambling proponents and key lawmakers to aim at bigger gambling expansion. According to the ones supporting the establishment of 3 new casinos in the New York City region, the proposed casino gambling expansion could establish thousands of new jobs that would help the sector compensate for the large employment loss during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As revealed by the State Assembly Committee on Gaming and Wagering’s Chair, Gary Pretlow, he has made the issuing of full gaming casino operating permits in downstate New York part of the top priorities on his agenda.
Mr. Pretlow also noted that the Aqueduct race track-based Resorts World gambling venue of Genting and Yonger Raceway-based Empire City slots parlor of MGM Resorts would have an advantage to winning 2 of the 3 proposed downstate casino licenses. Both operations are currently given the right to offer slot-style video lottery terminal games only, but they also have the room to add table games, as well as the financial resources to pay the required license fee.
The New York State Gaming Commission has sought impressions of interest and about a dozen casino companies and other entrepreneurs, including Hard Rock International, Bally’s, Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands Corp., Resorts World, Rush Street Gaming, MGM, UE Resorts, etc., so far confirmed they were interested in applying for one of the three downstate casino operating permits.
New Casino Licenses Could Compensate for Massive Hospitality and Entertainment Sector Layoffs
The Chair of the Senate Gambling Committee, Joe Addabbo, also agreed that New York Legislatures should start action to grant the downstate casino licenses in 2022. According to Mr. Addabbo, the gambling expansion would provide the state treasury with some extra money thanks to licensing fees. The operating permits could account for about $750 million for the state coffers, preliminary projections of some lawmakers say.
Furthermore, Mr. Addabbo believes that the new licenses could help MGM and Resorts World convert the aforementioned operations into full casinos with table games, with both companies having strong political and community support.
The Senate Gambling Committee’s Chairman also explained that, in his opinion, the third operating casino license should be awarded for a region that includes Long Island, New York City, and the northern suburbs (Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester counties). Manhattan has been ruled out that it is already an area that attracts tourists’ attention thanks to the Broadway theater district and a number of other popular entertainment venues.
As mentioned above, the 3 casino operating licenses that some state lawmakers suggested, were backed by the state’s hotel and casino worker union. A labor union leader who represents 40,000 people working in the local hotel and casino industry said that the proposal could help thousands of hotel workers, who lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, find new jobs by city casinos.
The last couple of years have seen unprecedented layoffs in the hospitality sector of New York. This is exactly why the addition of three new casinos in the state would help the sector recover from the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the president of the Hotel and Gaming Trades Council Union, Rich Maroko, a smart and responsible approach to the new casino operating permits could provide the sector with the chance to put unemployed employees in the hospitality sector back to work, and at the same time give the local economy a much-needed boost.