New Casino Project in NYC Collapsed, Review Unlikely This Year

Efforts to speed up the process of developing a Las Vegas-style casino in New York failed after some legislators expressed strong opposition to the idea.

Drooling over the Last NYC Casino License

The news that the idea to move the process up from 2023 to 2021 failed is discouraging news for Wynn Resorts, Bally’s Corporation and Las Vegas Sands, which are vying to compete for the third remaining New York-area casino license as per the 2013 constitutional amendment which authorized 7 casinos in New York.

Following the licensing of the 4 upstate casinos, a moratorium was placed on the remaining three licenses until 2023, with 2 of these licenses almost certainly going to already existing slot machine properties in the area, the Resorts World Aqueduct racino in Queens and the Empire City Casino in Yonkers.

Strong objections from Manhattan legislators like Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who believes a casino would lower the perceived standard of residential and commercial properties in the borough, pushed state legislators to look for alternative ways to get around these objections.

Lawmakers had worked for months to craft a bill that would give Manhattan officials the right to decide for themselves on any proposed casino license, only to find out Gov. Cuomo is against the idea which seems to give too much power by setting a precedent of granting special rights.

Gov. Cuomo defended the opinion that making an exception for Manhattan would open the door for other special rights requests in budget negotiations, whereas in general, he is strongly opposing the idea of home rule that would allow a county to circumvent state laws.

Vague Chances for Revival

Hence, the proposal to speed up the last available casino license in the New York area fell apart in the final hour of the budget negotiations in April, leaving vague hopes it may be revived again this year.

“With the influx of federal funding, there was less of an imperative to change the status quo, however we are continuing to work with the Legislature to see if there is a path forward this year.”

Freeman Klopott, Spokeswoman, Budget Division, New York State

Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, who is chairing the Racing and Wagering Committee and is a long-time major proponent of gambling legislation in New York, does not share the optimism, though.

“There’s mere discussion at this point. There’s nothing really going on.”

Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Chairman, Racing and Wagering Committee

Casino executives believe the idea is dead until the end of the year, hoping for it to be brought back to life in January.

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