According to reports, three locations in or near the city of New York are set to get new full-service casino operating permits by the beginning of 2023. Existing racino venues are likely to have a certain advantage for two of the licenses, which could result in fierce competition over the third New York casino operating permit.
Potential partnership agreements between national gambling operators and real estate developers in New York City have been considered and negotiated ahead of the beginning of the formal bidding process, which is set to begin this fall.
As explained by Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., who initiated and presented the mobile sports betting law in Albany, the city of New York is seen as an area for future growth in the gaming sector. According to him, the success of mobile sports betting motivated local legislators to expedite the downstate casino operating permits.
Reports say that the residents of New York City have spent a total of $7.1 billion and accounted for $263 million in tax revenue since the new form of gambling was officially released in January 2022. Senator Addabbo Jr. shared that, in his opinion, the state’s gambling regulatory body could determine the sites that would operate under the 3 downstate casino licenses by the end of 2022 or by the first quarter of 2023.
So far, the Mayor of New York City Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul have encouraged local lawmakers and regulatory bodies to advance the licensing process. Mr. Adams has noted that he wants to see no less than 2 of the 3 casino venues within city limits.
Two Existing Racinos Could Have an Advantage in the Casino License Bidding Process
The casino licenses require property owners or real estate developers to join forces with a gambling operator. According to documents presented by the state Gaming Commission, the gambling companies that could potentially join the competition include Hard Rock International, Bally’s, Wynn Resorts Development, Rush Street Gaming and Las Vegas Sands.
Reportedly, the officials from the developer of Hudson Yards – The Related Cos. – have approached local officials with a proposal to build a casino on the west side of Manhattan. Reports also say that Steven Cohen, the owner of the New York Mets, has suggested building a casino in close proximity to Willets Point, while the real estate developer Thor Equities has shared interest in establishing a casino venue on Coney Island.
Three downstate casino operating permits were authorized by the state as part of its April budget agreement. The local gambling regulatory body is now expected to appoint a Gaming Facility Location Board on October 4th, which will then be given 90 days to ensure the request-for-application phase of the process.
As mentioned above, already existing racinos that combine the offering of electronic table games and racetracks – MGM’s Empire City Casino in Yonkers and Genting’s Resorts World at Aqueduct in Queens – could have an advantage in the process and actually receive two of the three licenses that are set to be awarded. Neither one of them will have to build a casino from scratch and both locations are in neighborhoods that back gambling expansion. That basically means that Brooklyn, Manhattan, Long Island and Queens will be left competing for the potential third and final casino operating permit.
Once applications for each of the three licenses are finally submitted during the fall, the Community Advisory Committee is set to be formed for each project. As part of the review, the 6-member Committees that include the local City Council member, the district’s state senator, the district’s Assembly member, the borough president, the state’s Governor and the city’s mayor, will hold meetings and vote on whether each of the applications should be approved. A license application is considered accepted only if it gathers at least two-thirds of the votes.
If a Community Advisory Committee approves an application, the bid would have to overcome a number of local zoning approvals, with the Gaming Facility Location Board also expected to review the project before an operating license is granted to a certain bidder.