he growing prospect to open a new casino in New York City is part of the agreement announced Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders to finalize the overdue state budget.
The governor pushed an initiative that would include the creation of a “community advisory board” in New York City to weigh on a site for a casino in the city, potentially in Manhattan. Sen. Joseph Addabbo, who chairs the committee overseeing gambling issues, told the New York Post that licensing of a downstate casino was part of budget talks. New York state leaders also approved a separate deal to legalize mobile sports betting, with a limited-operator model backed by Cuomo.
Per current law, three casinos can be authorized in the downstate region beginning in 2023, an area that includes the city, the lower Hudson Valley and Long Island. With the aim of generating more revenue, Cuomo and lawmakers agreed to put out formal request proposals for three new downstate casino licenses as part of the 2021-2022 budget, which according to Addabbo, could bring in licensing fees of $500 million each or more. “To have a gaming license in New York state is a commodity. There are those that would be willing to pay this money up front,” he said.
Addabbo said the problem is that city lawmakers he has spoken with are not willing to open a casino on their turf, believing the negatives outweigh the positives. “There’s a lot of opposition to opening a casino in Manhattan,” he said.
A draft bill mentions “siting a gaming facility within the City of New York," according to the NYP. The measure would create a New York City community advisory board to review casino applications. The advisory board will consist of 20 members; five each appointed by the governor, the senator majority leader and assembly speaker. The 15 appointees on the board would appoint the other five members.
Wynn Resorts, Bally’s Corp. and Las Vegas Sands have been looking into the possibility to compete for a New York City-area casino license. The efforts reportedly included talking to potential developer partners and lobbying local politicians for support.
Locations being scouted for potential casino sites include Willets Point in Queens, the Belmont Park development in Long Island, and Staten Island’s St. George neighborhood. The gambling parlors located at Aqueduct and Yonkers racetracks could also apply to convert into full-fledged casinos with live table games. The “racinos” now only offer electronic slot games authorized by the Gaming Commission’s state Lottery Division.