State gambling regulators released the first round of downstate New York casino applicants’ Q&As on Wednesday afternoon, revealing what topics gambling companies and developers are most concerned with at the earliest stages of the process.
The 103-page report deals with all manner of regulatory steps and procedures required by the 11 applicants seeking one of three available downstate NY casino licenses. From construction costs and licensing fees to Community Advisory Committees and planned diversity efforts, the report from the NY State Gaming Commission and Gaming Facility Location Board addresses 613 inquiries submitted between Jan. 3 and Feb. 3.
The second round of applicant questions are due by Oct. 6, according to the NYSGC. No date has been set for the board’s responses to those questions.
Slow, steady won’t win the NY casino race
The five-month gap between the first questions being due and the GFLB’s responses raised some eyebrows. Downstate NY casinos are projected to create thousands of jobs, millions in local taxes and billions in gambling revenue.
The three licenses alone will raise $1.5 billion almost immediately. In order to obtain one of the three downstate licenses, applicants must pay a $500 million fee and commit at least $500 million toward capital investments.
The slow, methodical approach of NY gaming regulators is delaying the fruits of expansion, according to some.
In January, state Sen. Joe Addabbo, D-Queens, chair of the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, said this:
“The quicker the three licenses are approved, the quicker we can begin to realize the major benefits to the state, such as thousands of construction and post-construction jobs, billions in revenue from the licenses, an increase in problem gambling monies and programs, as well as billions more in educational funding when the winning casinos go live.”
NY gambling industry on the rise
The state’s gambling industry is trending upward, putting more pressure on regulators to move more quickly. Collectively, the state’s four class III gambling facilities have reported $338.7 million in pre-tax revenue so far in 2023, up 2.73% compared to the first six months of 2022.
Online sports betting has propelled NY into the largest legal market in the US in less than a year. The three major sports gambling metrics – handle, revenue and taxes – have increased from 2022’s record-setting pace. More than $10 billion has been legally wagered on sports in NY, according to public data. Online sports gambling has generated more than $469.3 million in taxes this year, up 30% from 2022.
Online casinos and internet lottery could be on the table for state lawmakers to consider in 2024, as well.