Casino News

New York Commences Downstate Request for Applicants

This week marked the first meeting of New York’s Gaming Facility Location Board, which is tasked with reviewing possible locations for new commercial casinos in the downstate region. During its first meeting, the panel launched the start of a Request for Applicants process to award the three available gaming licenses to candidates in New York City or the nearby suburbs.

Created by the New York State Gaming Commission in the fall of 2022, the GFLB is tasked with reviewing candidates who want to launch a full-scale casino in the downstate area. Its introduction came a few months after state officials formally included the fast-tracking of the downstate casino licenses, which is expected to accelerate the process by a year.

Applications Can Now be Submitted

On Monday, January 3, 2023, the board officially kicked off the Request for Application. This triggered the formal commencement of a downstate casino bidding process that in practical, financial, and political ways has essentially begun a few years ago between local and international parties who wish to secure legal entry to the New York City gambling landscape.

The panel reported that applicants must agree to invest at least US$500 million in their respective casino bid, while also paying another US$500 million in licensing fees to the state. Provided that their bid is approved. Winning applications will have a time scale for their initial license period, which will be 10 years, which is rumoured to be extendable.

In their bids, applicants must also present a description of the competitive environment they anticipate over the 10 years after launching the casino as well as the potential impact on existing gaming amenities. In addition to that, the new panel will have to take into account a wide range of factors from the financial wherewithal of bids, such as jobs creation, employment arrangement with unions and ability to abide by a reasonable construction plan.

Also, winning bidders must agree to share 25% of slot machine revenue and 10% of other gambling earnings with the State of New York. It is expected that licenses will be awarded late in 2023. Currently, the only deadline the panel announced was February 3, 2022. The date is the last chance for applicants to submit their inquiries about the award process to the panel.

Some of the Candidates

The issuance of downstate casino licenses has been a widely discussed subject and plenty of candidates have already expressed interest in them. In the industry, Resorts World NYC and Empire City Casino which already operate in the state are among the favourites. Thor Equities has also expressed interest in bidding for a casino property in Coney Island.

One of the other mentioned frontrunners is a collation between SL Green, Caesars Entertainment, and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. The trio intends to launch Caesars Palace Times Square in Manhattan. Their proposal has also been backed by a group of theatre workers, musicians, small business owners, hotel operators and construction unions.

Source: Precious, Tom “Start of Bidding OK’d for Three NYC Casino LicensesBloodHorse, December 3, 2022