New York’s battle for the three commercial downstate casinos is only getting more heated. Just recently, Politico released a report claiming that gambling companies that wish to win a license have spent millions in lobbying Empire State officials in an attempt to gain an advantage. According to the report, 10 of the companies with a casino proposal have already invested millions.
Currently, New York State is in the process of awarding the three available downstate casino licenses to three suitors. The process of Request for Applications kicked off in January 2023 by the Gaming Facility Location Board, which will now review bids by companies. It is expected that the three winners will be revealed sometime in 2023.
More than US$7 Million in 14 Months
In its report, Politico claims that 10 firms who have submitted proposals for a New York casino have spent at least US$7.2 million in the last 14 months. The report also states that lobbying companies have spent undisclosed amounts for consulting, political strategy and public relations. They were able to do so, as these contracts do not necessarily have to be released to the public.
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine commented that it looked like every lobbyist is going to have a casino partner. He added that even one of those bids will be among the toughest public campaigns, and to have ten at the same time was unprecedented for NYC. According to CBRE, an NYC casino would bring US$2 billion in revenue every year.
According to the said report from Politico, Genting Group has a good chance of getting its hands on a license, as it has invested US$2.7 million in lobbying firms to expand its Resorts World New York City. Meanwhile, MGM Resorts International also has great chances as its Empire City Casino in Yonkers is already up and running. This leaves the last license for one of the many other bidders.
Some of the candidates for a casino license in downstate New York include Las Vegas Sands which recently shared its plans for a multi-billion-dollar hospitality, and entertainment project on Long Island, NY. Its project would the currently occupied by the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum land and has already agreed on some deals in place to kick start its process.
Caesars Entertainment, which is a major name in the gambling industry, has teamed up with Roc Nation and SL Green for a Caesars Palace Times Square. In order to boost its bid, the coalition announced a new version of Caesars Rewards®. This will allow members to be able to use their credits by converting them to gift cards and being able to use them at hotels, restaurants, and clubs in New York.
No Signs of Corruption
The report also states that there have been no signs of corruption in the casino proposals. John Kaehny, executive director at the watchdog group Reinvent Albany, said that enormous sums are being poured into the state’s political system from companies to try and sway the decision in their favour when lawmakers select the final winners.
Source: Vojvodic, Katarina “Politico Says New York Casino Bidders Have Spent Millions Lobbying Officials” PlayUSA, March 13, 2023