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NY Senate Leader Backs Empire City Casino

State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins has most recently given her verdict and preferences on which downstate New York property should get one of the three full-commercial casino licenses. The Senate leader expressed her support for MGM Resorts International’s Empire City Casino to be given one of the licenses, as it could do well with the expansion into a fully-fledged casino.

Currently, there is a moratorium on commercial downstate casino licenses until 2023, however, Governor Kathy Hochul proposed to accelerate the process in distributing the three available ones. Previously, the New York State Gaming Commission revealed that there has been plenty of interest in the three licenses, meaning that the property could face tough opposition.

Backing Her Hometown

In a Tuesday press briefing, Ms. Stewart-Cousins commented that is naturally going to support her hometown casino which has already proved its worth to the local economy. She also stated that she supports Gov. Hochul’s suggestion of accelerating the process of awarding the downstate casino licenses to three properties in New York City or the surrounding suburbs.

The MGM Resorts International property officially opened its door for patrons back in October 2006, however, it is not a full-scale casino as there are no live table games, and only slots and electronic games. The casino along with Resorts World New York City will likely both apply for such licenses, and the two are among the favourites as after securing the expansion they can quickly develop due to their established fan bases.

Management of Resorts World New York City, which is operated by Genting Malaysia, previously stated that over the 10 years it was incredibly fortunate to have such amazing support from local Queens communities. The company stated that it is sharing the communities’ excitement over a potential expansion into a fully-fledged casino and the positive benefit it would have on the region.

According to the company, some Queens lawmakers who have also expressed their support for the property to become a full-scale one include Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, Sens. Joe Addabbo Jr. and Leroy Comrie, and Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato. The Queens Chamber of Commerce, Greater Jamaica Development Corp., the Jamaica NAACP, United Black Men of Queens have also sent out letters of support.

More Officials Back the Acceleration

Previously, Gary Pretlow, who is the Chairman of the state’s Assembly Committee on Gaming and Wagering that the acceleration of downstate casino licenses is one of his main priorities. The Chairman even pointed out Resorts World New York City and Empire State Casino as the two most suitable and likely candidates to win two of the commercial licenses.

At the end of last year, the New York State Gaming Commission reported the results from its Request for Information for the downstate licenses. According to the regulator, the RFI has collected more than 30 responses, including applications from at least eight casino operators who would be interested in managing a casino in downstate New York.

Source: Campanile, Carl “NY Senate Leader Stewart-Cousins wants to roll dice on Yonkers casino”, New York Post, February 9, 2022