Several lawmakers from New York State, have voiced their wish for the state to accelerate the process of issuing downstate casino licenses. The officials, who have been backed by local casino workers and labor unions, want to see, the state awarding the three available commercial gaming licenses sometime this year in the NYC region this year.
Recently, the state’s gaming industry witnessed the long-awaited launch of mobile sports betting. It is believed that the digitalization and the expansion of land-based property would be of significant benefit to the state as it would be able to generate substantial revenue for the local economy. As money is desperately needed after the impact of the unprecedented situation.
Two in Pole Position
Gary Pretlow, who is the Chairman of the state’s Assembly Committee on Gaming and Wagering noted that the issuing of full gaming casino licenses in downstate New York is now his top priority. He even suggests Genting New York LLC’s Resorts World New York City and MGM Resorts’ Empire State Casino as the potential front-runners for the full-casino licenses.
Currently, the two gaming properties are only allowed to offer Lottery Division’s slot-style video lottery terminal games. According to him, the venues are suitable candidates as they already operate in the state and have enough room to add live table games. It is believed that transforming them into full-scale casinos would provide US$750 million for the state’s treasury.
Joseph Addabbo, Chair of the Senate Gambling Committee, also likes the idea of awarding the three downstate casinos sometime this year. Mr. Addabbo also supports the two said gaming properties to become full-size casinos, as their operators have a great track record and support from local communities. In his opinion, the third license should go to a property in NYC, Long Island, and the northern suburbs — Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam counties.
The moratorium on downstate casino licenses was introduced to give upstate commercial casinos a chance to establish themselves in the local gaming market. However, Clyde Barrow, a political science professor, who studies casinos, said that most of the state’s population is in downstate New York. In his words, there is a huge possibility of upstate casinos closing down due to everyone being downstate.
At the end of 2021, the New York State Gaming Commission started its Request for Information for candidates who want to get their hands on one of the available licenses. In its report, the commission revealed that has collected more than 30 bids, including applications from at least eight casino operators, including the already mentioned MGM Resorts and Genting New York LLC.
More recent news from the Empire State’s gambling industry includes the launch of the first regulated online sports betting market. It started off officially on Saturday, January 8, 2022, at 9 a.m. Now, local gamblers have the ability to place wagers online on their preferred sporting events without leaving the comfort of their homes on four gaming platforms. With five more on the way.
Source: Campanile, Carl “Lawmakers are pushing for up to three casino licenses in NYC region”, NewYorkPost, January 11, 2022