New York Sets Deadline for Downstate Casino Operator Selections

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New York Sets Deadline for Downstate Casino Operator Selections
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Both New York’s Senate and Assembly have voted in favor of Senator Joe Addabbo’s bill to set a strict deadline for the selection of three casino operators in downstate New York.

State senators approved SB 9673 with a 51-4 vote, while the Assembly passed it with a 51-9 vote, paving the way for the legislation to be sent to Governor Kathy Hochul to be signed into law. Although the New York legislature was scheduled to adjourn on June 6th, they extended the session to vote on this bill.

Governor Hochul is expected to approve the legislation, considering her previous support for retail casino expansion.

Before the bill passed, Addabbo introduced an amendment requiring the New York Gaming Facility Location Board to make recommendations on selecting downstate casinos by December 31st, 2025.

The final deadline for issuing licenses would be March 31st, 2026. Addabbo’s initial proposal, introduced on May 17th with just two weeks remaining in the legislative session, had a deadline a full year earlier.

SB 9673 also allows interested developers to apply for casino licenses while resolving land use issues, potentially expediting the licensing process before the March 2026 deadline. The amended bill will accept applications until August 31st, 2024.

Addabbo has previously stated three new casinos could generate up to $3 billion in license fees alone, with developers potentially bidding up to $1 billion per license.

Potential Applicants

The bill sets a final date on the long-drawn out casino operator selection process that started back in October 2022 when the New York Gaming Commission first announced details of the additional casinos.

At the time, the commission revealed that licenses will be priced at a minimum of $500 million, with the board open to proposals from any interested party for a 90-day period. Empire City Casino is anticipated to be a leading contender for a license, alongside Resorts World, which is also expected to apply.

In January of 2023, Las Vegas Sands revealed plans to develop a multi-billion-dollar flagship hospitality, entertainment, and casino project on Long Island, New York. The company agreed to acquire the long-term lease for the site currently housing the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Online Casino Gaming Could be on the Cards

Addabbo has also supported the legalization of online casino gaming in New York and it’s believed that another legislative attempt will be made in the near future.

Despite Governor Hochul’s refusal to include iGaming in the recent state budget, Addabbo pushed forward with the introduction of S8185 in January of 2024. The bill is similar to a previous billed that failed to pass last year.

This was then followed up by SB9226 which proposes “to authorize the New York State Gaming Commission to license certain entities to offer for play to the public certain variants of internet poker which requires a significant degree of skill, specifically ‘Omaha Hold’em’ and ‘Texas Hold’em.’”

Although the session is now ended for the year, Addabbo maintains that both bills showed the willingness of lawmakers to consider online casino gaming in the state.

Jenny Tang

An experienced iGaming commentator and analyst based in New York City - Jenny reports on regulation and gambling industry news and events.