Casino News

NYC Community Boards Disapprove Casino Fast-Tracking Proposal

Community Boards in New York City have most recently expressed their discontent with a proposal from Mayor Eric Adams to fast-track the casino review process. The mayor’s office wants to introduce a review process for the upcoming casino bids which would take away community boards’ ability to formally have their say on multibillion-dollar casino projects.

Provided that the suggested changes by the mayor’s office are approved, community boards would lose their voice when it comes to commercial casino reviews and considerations. In light of this, last week, Community Board 4, which covers Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea on Manhattan’s West Side, declared its disapproval of the mayor’s plan to go around CB’s say.

Community Boards are Not Pleased

CB member Delores Rubin said it was a shame that the city attempted to abdicate everything to the state, as it is giving away any opportunity for what has been fought for by city planning and each community. Currently, there are 59 CBs in the Big Apple and each is comprised of unsalaried members who are appointed by borough presidents and council members.

In case of a proposed new commercial project in NYC, the city requires developers to go through a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, which is kicked off when a project requires land-use changes, a zoning change, or the sale of a city-owned property. But the mayor’s proposal, ULURP would be unnecessary for the review of casino bids, as it would duplicate the state’s consideration of each project.

State law says that for a downstate casino to qualify for consideration by the NY Gaming Facility Location Board, the pitch must also get backing from its local Community Advisory Committee. Each project would get a six-member CAC, with Gov. Kathy Hochul, the mayor, the borough president, and applicable state senator, assemblyperson, and city councillor each appointing a member to the committee.

Then, the CAC will be in charge of considering and reviewing land use and zoning changes for the proposed commercial gambling venue. But first, the City Planning Commission must vote in favour of dropping ULURPs for the casino proposal before the measure would go to the City Council and the mayor of NYC for one last final approval.

Candidates are Plenty

It should be noted that the battle for the downstate commercial licenses is fierce, as there are only three permits and over a dozen candidates. It gets even more intense as two of the licenses are almost nailed on for Resort World New York City in Queens and Empire City Casino in Yonkers, which are already operating class II gaming facilities in the city.

Other big-name candidates include Las Vegas Sands which a while back pitched a plan for an integrated casino resort in Nassau County, Long Island. In October, the company said that it is still confident about its project as it already secured Nassau Coliseum and is in the process of acquiring the necessary selling requirements to move forward if it lands one of the licenses