New York budget looks to speed up licensing of three downstate casinos

New York budget looks to speed up licensing of three downstate casinos

A budget deal reached by governor Kathy Hochul and state legislative leaders allows the awarding of licences for three new casinos downstate.

US.- New York governor Kathy Hochul and state legislative leaders have reached an agreement on the state’s budget for 2023. The $220bn spending plan contemplates speeding up the licences for three new casinos. The budget still needs to be voted on by the full Legislature.

The upcoming venues are expected to open in the New York City area. Operators would have to pay the state a minimum of $500m for each licence, according to unreleased details obtained by The New York Times.

The process of awarding licenses for the new downstate casinos was initially set to launch next year. New York currently has four casino operators in upstate provinces. Under the deal reached last week, a six-member board of political appointees would have a say over the location of any new casino, a move meant to give local communities a voice in the process.

The fee could potentially rise to around $750m. Initially, $1bn was proposed in the Senate budget. However, casino interests criticised this move, which could explain why the proposed fee’s been lowered.

Senator Joe Addabbo, chairman of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering committee, had indicated he would like the licensing process to be finalised by the end of the year, but it still remains unclear what the timeline will be. The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) is set to first issue a Request for Applications from interested bidders.

Some of the biggest names in the casino industry have been scouting locations, including Las Vegas Sands Corp., Wynn Resorts Ltd. and Hard Rock International. Resorts World Queens at Aqueduct Racetrack and Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway in Westchester County already operate slot machine parlors at the racetracks and may be able to get licences, according to Bloomberg.

Robert DeSalvio, the president of Genting Americas East which operates Resorts World Queens, said: “We welcome the opportunity to work with the State and local stakeholders on this important and timely leap forward.

“We are ready, willing and able to immediately double our workforce by adding more than 1,000 new union jobs and help the true potential of resort-style gaming, entertainment and hospitality be realized right here in the heart of Queens.”

“Following the budget, the Legislature must monitor the timely, fair and transparent bidding process for the licenses, and ensure that the siting process is being credibly implemented,” said Addabbo.

See also: Hard Rock considers two New York-area casinos