May 20, 2024 3 min read

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Lawmakers Push to Accelerate NYC Casino Licensing, Citing Economic Benefits

The proposal stipulates that all casino license bids must be submitted by July 31, 2024, and requires the New York State Gaming Commission to approve three licenses by March 31, 2025

New York state lawmakers Sen. Joseph Addabbo and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow have submitted a bill, which aims to expedite the process of awarding casino licenses in the New York City area

New Bill Proposes Earlier Deadline for NYC Casino Licenses to Boost State Revenue

The proposal stipulates that all casino license bids must be submitted by July 31, 2024. The bill also requires the New York State Gaming Commission to approve three licenses by March 31, 2025. As a comparison, according to the current schedule, licenses have to be awarded by December 31, 2025. 

Addabbo and Pretlow submitted the new bill as they consider the current timetable inefficient, reported The New York Post. They further added that it is delaying economic benefits for the state and believe that speeding up the licensing can generate billions of dollars in additional revenue for the state.

Addabbo noted that the prolonged timeline is holding up about 5,000 jobs and that a streamlined process needs to be implemented. The bill’s goal is not to benefit particular bidders but to eradicate the inefficiencies in the current system.

Some industry sources think that the current system is advantageous for those of the bidders who are facing political and zoning challenges. 

For example, Mets owner Steve Cohen, who proposed a $8 billion casino near Citi Field in Queens, and the Related Companies, proposing a $12 billion casino and office tower complex in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, are some of the projects that are dealing with such hurdles.

However, the accelerated timeline that Addabbo and Pretlow are proposing could benefit existing slot parlors like Resorts World at Aqueduct and MGM Empire City at Yonkers. To get a license, all these entities need to do is expand their facilities to include live card games.

New Legislation Proposes $500M Upfront Fee for NYC Casino Licenses

As per the new legislation proposal, every bidder that gets a license must pay an upfront license fee of at least $500 million. The bill also allows two years to resolve any legal or land-use issues.

However, there are some significant challenges. For example, Cohen’s project needs state legislative approval to redesignate parkland around Citi Field for commercial use. However, state Sen. Jessica Ramos, who represents the area, has not yet backed this approval.

Assemblyman Pretlow, whose district includes the Yonkers racino, has expressed his frustration over the slow pace of the process. He noted that New York state is potentially forfeiting $2 billion in revenue.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, who oversees the gaming commission, has stated that she will review all legislation, which has been passed by both houses but has not made any statement either in support or against the accelerated casino licensing process. 

In addition to Cohen’s and Related Companies’ bids, other proposed casino projects in New York City include developments by SL Green/Caesars/Roc Nation in Times Square, Bally’s in The Bronx, Silverstein Properties in Hell’s Kitchen, and the Thor Equity consortium along the Coney Island boardwalk.

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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