More Casinos May Be Headed to New York Sooner Than Expected
The New York State Gaming Commission has started the request for information solicitation sooner than expected for the downstate region.
New York has offered casino gaming for quite some time in the upper region of the state. When casinos were legalized, the entire state could offer services, but it started with this region and downstate would only be allowed to offer gaming by 2023, after the first set of casinos were established. Now, it seems that the process may be moving forward more quickly than anticipated as the NY State Gaming Commission released a request for information where companies can show they are interested in opening a casino in the downstate area.
Request for Information Process
With the RFI, it is an informal process where companies can alert the Commission that they are interested in operating a casino in the state. Feedback is also provided by labor unions, business groups, neighborhood associations, and local government officials on potential plans for a casino.
The RFI process will help to determine how much interest there is in casino licensing for downstate as well as help officials in the state see if certain areas should be excluded from offering gaming. It will also be determined if certain areas should be given preference on the matter.
The Commission has plans to accept questions on the process through November 10. Responses are one month later on December 10. Back in April, the state budget was passed, and it called for the RFI to begin in order to see how much interest there is in the three available licenses. The findings of the RFIs must be sent to the governor and legislature within a six-month time frame.
Bringing in the Big Bucks
If the timeline set by the Commission holds firm, then a report would be released by early summer 2022. However, Senator Joe Addabbo is hopeful that the process will move at a faster pace. The state is supposed to have the licenses awarded by 2023. The delay was in place to ensure that the four casinos in the upstate area were able to become established.
Addabbo stated that the original plan was put in place before the COVID-19 pandemic began. New York State was hit very hard by the virus and needed billions in aid to try to make up for lost revenues. The senator is hopeful that the casinos can be licensed earlier so that much needed funds will be available in the state.
The casinos would of course take some time to build but according to Senator Addabbo, the licensing fees would be secured beforehand. Each license could reach as high as $750 million each which would bring in a ton of cash for the stat when it is needed most. The new casinos would also bring in new jobs that are certainly needed after COVID-19 shutdowns.
There is already gaming in existence in the downstate area of NY, including the Resorts World New York City and Empire City Casino. These two venues and Jake’s 58 are only allowed to offer video lottery terminals and electronic table games. Live table games and fully functional casinos are only allowed upstate.
MGM operates Empire City and has shown interest in getting a full casino license. Resorts World is also interested in increasing its offering. Both would be able to upgrade their existing properties in order to offer more gaming options including live dealer games. It is expected that other major gaming companies will be showing interest in licensing as well.
We shall see soon which companies are showing interest in licensing and just how high the fee will go to obtain one of the three available licenses.