Bally’s Confident About Earning Downstate NY Casino License, Less So About Timeline

Written By Grant Lucas on March 4, 2024
Ribbon cutting at Bally Links in Ferry Point for a story on Bally's updating its outlook for getting one of three downstate New York casino licenses

Over six months have elapsed since the Gaming Facility Location Board released the first of two rounds of answers regarding licensing for three downstate casinos in New York.

There have been few updates on the timeline for when the second set emerge. And fewer details from state officials about when those three properties could open.

How few? As reported for other companies looking to capture one of the three available licenses, executives with Bally’s have no clue how long this process will take.

“We can’t give you any color on New York’s timeline,” Robeson Reeves, CEO of Bally’s, said during a recent earnings call. “We are taking every step and measure that will put our name in the hat for consideration. So we’re very interested in it. We think we have a very, very compelling proposition and site anchored by our Bally Links golf course.

“And so … we will engage and await New York’s decision and timeline.”

Downstate licensing a ‘lengthy and multifaceted journey’

While the heart of New York City has captured most of the attention for developing casino resorts, Bally’s has shown contentment with setting up shop on the outskirts.

In January, the company finalized and officially took over the former Trump Golf Links, transitioning into Bally’s Golf Links.

At the time, Soo Kim, controlling owner of Bally’s who grew up in Queens, called the course one of the city’s “crown jewels,” adding that “we look forward to being both responsible and responsive stewards of this compelling community asset.”

Of course, those plans also include adding a casino floor and developing the space further. When that could happen, even if Bally’s gets a license, remains unknown, however.

During the recent earnings calls, Charlie Diao, senior vice president and treasurer for Bally’s, indicated that the group is “in the early stages of what will be a lengthy and multifaceted journey towards building a world-class, super-regional casino and entertainment complex in the Bronx at Bally’s Golf Links Ferry Point.”

For Bally’s – and everyone else – winning downstate license is a long road

As expressed by Diao, Bally’s expects this licensing process to take some time. But he and the rest of the Bally’s team remains confident it can achieve the first step toward that ultimate goal: securing the license.

“Should we achieve this milestone, we believe we’ll have a highly attractive and competitive proposal that will allow for numerous pathways to actualize our vision,” which no doubt includes offering online casinos in New York once lawmakers legalize the industry.

“Thinking about our development timeline in this way makes it clear that Bally’s has a well-developed, staggered spending timeline that extends approximately five to 10 years. This approach will maximize the benefits derived from the cash flow generated from our core operations, while accommodating for potential market and financial position shifts.”

If that thought features too much jargon for your taste, consider how Diao concluded the sentiment:

“Moreover, this unmatched development pipeline offers opportunities in two of the largest US cities and the country’s most distinguished gaming destination.”

Photo by Michael Appleton / Mayoral Photography Office
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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is the managing editor for PlayNY. A longtime, award-winning sports writer, Grant has covered gambling and legal sports betting since 2018, when he got his start reporting on the New Jersey and Pennsylvania industries. He now oversees PlayNY as New York expands legalized gambling to sports betting and online casino gaming.

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