As soon as New York acknowledged publicly that it might expand its land-based casino market, several operators jumped. According to The Times Union, Bally’s, Hard Rock, Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts were among the companies that responded to the request for information (RFI) by the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) before the deadline of December 10. Genting, MGM Resorts and Rush Street Gaming also responded to the RFI.
New York’s Tantalizing Market
The operators might just want to see what the expanded market may hold. Soliciting information is often the first step of the RFI process. It will also show the commission who’s entertaining the idea of bidding. After 2023, the NYSGC will allow three casinos to be built in New York City or nearby.
Rush Street was the only company to not redact its response. According to the Times Union, the operator positioned itself as a strong candidate for a casino license due to its “transformative” work in local communities, not only in Schenectady but also in Philadelphia, Chicago and Niagara Falls.
The state doesn’t see New York City in dire need of transformation. This is unlike the upstate areas, where local economies are struggling since their manufacturing sector was eliminated. For casino operators, the city and its immediate surroundings, including Nassau County and the northern suburbs, can be seen as gold mines. It is possible that the state will choose applicants who generate the highest tax revenue.
The Water Club, located in Manhattan, responded to the request for details and proposed a small, exclusive casino that does not have any slot machines. There were 30 responses in total. However, most only talked about the potential of casinos and didn’t actually suggest one.
Although the Shinnecock tribe responded to the request, the response was not published. The Shinnecock Nation has been planning for years to build a casino on its territory, Southampton. This would not require a state license, but it could use that leverage to get a better location.
Vornado Realty Trust and Morris Bailey were among those who proposed or considered gambling venues in Manhattan earlier this year. It is not known if any of this group responded to the latest RFI.
More Work to be Done
The RFI wasn’t limited to just those companies interested in owning a piece of the casino real estate market in New York. Eligible officials and community groups were also permitted to give their input.
That input included some opposition to the idea, as well. The opening of a casino near Citi Field in Flushing, home of the NY Mets, faced strong opposition. That resistance includes an effort by Queens Civic Congress, an influential coalition of 60 neighborhood organizations.
A recent study by the gaming commission found that three new downstate casinos, which include conversions of Yonkers or Aqueduct, could generate revenues between $420 million and $630 million per year.
Casino operators and state officials believe that licenses could be issued within the next six months.