New York Lawmakers Want To Speed Up Casino Licenses

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New York Lawmakers Want To Speed Up Casino Licenses
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Two New York state lawmakers, Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow — who were instrumental in getting online sportsbooks off the ground in New York — are pushing a bill to accelerate the timetable for awarding casino licenses in the New York City area. The proposed law would require bids to be submitted by July 31 of this year and for the gaming commission to approve the three casino licenses by March 31 of next year.

This move comes after the gaming commission announced that the licenses wouldn’t be awarded until December 31, 2025, at earliest, drawing criticism from industry players like Sands, who want to open a casino at the Nassau Coliseum hub in Uniondale, Long Island. Some industry sources, according to a New York Post piece, suggest the extended timeline benefits bidders facing political resistance or zoning issues, such as Mets owner Steve Cohen’s proposed $8 billion casino complex near Citi Field, and Related Companies/Wynn Resorts’$12 billion plan for Hudson Yards.

Meanwhile, the proposed faster timeframe would seemingly boost the chances of existing slots parlors, like Resorts World at Aqueduct and MGM Empire City, who already have facilities and would only need to expand to offer live card table games.

But the bill would allow up to two years for winning bidders to get their zoning and land-use ducks in a row.

Addabbo and Pretlow maintain they’re not favoring any specific bidder, but rather want to generate jobs and revenue for the state. “It’s taking too long. There are inefficiencies,” said Addabbo, according to the New York Post. “We have to move. There are 5,000 jobs on hold — minimally.”

Pretlow added, “Why are we stringing this along? We’re spinning our wheels here.”

However, Gov. Kathy Hochul, who oversees the gaming commission, was non-committal about speeding up the process, with her spokesman stating, “Governor Hochul will review all legislation that passes both houses of the legislature.”

Thor Equities and its partners — Saratoga Casino Holdings, the Chickasaw Nation, and Legends — have unveiled the scale of their $3 billion casino proposal for Coney Island,Brooklyn, dubbed “The Coney.”

The development plan includes a 500-room hotel, a 2,500-seat concert venue, 70,000 square feet of retail space, and 90,000 square feet of meeting and event space, according to the Commercial Observer.

While renderings were initially released in March 2023, the group has now shared updated visuals showcasing their vision for the five-acre site between Stillwell Avenue, West 12th Street, and Wonder Wheel Way.

“For two years we have been speaking with the residents of Coney Island and Southern Brooklyn about the need for a project that creates careers, supports local businesses, and centers entertainment around the idea of a playground that is truly accessible to the people,” Sam Gerrity, the CEO of Saratoga, said in a statement. “[Coney Island] needs a project that provides year-round economic support while also lifting up the infrastructure in one of the most densely traveled areas of the community.”

The updates come as the New York City Council recently passed legislation to grant developers winning a downstate casino license a zoning amendment for a facility in high-density and commercial manufacturing districts, bypassing the lengthy Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.

Jay-Z has 99 problems, and New Yorkers who live near Times Square are one of them.

A poll of 400 registered voters, conducted by Tulchin Research, showed that 71% of Times Square area residents are against the idea of a Times Square casino.

Jay-Z, along with Caesars, is trying to bring a casino to the tourist capital of the world.

According to the poll, as reported by WPIX, only 9% thought Times Square was the right place for a casino, and over 80% thought it would only bring more crime to the area.