Sources: Fairness In Question For Awarding Of NY Casino Licensing

Written By Russ Mitchell on October 21, 2022
Downstate New York Casino License Fairness New York Post

Are campaign contributions unfairly giving racino slot parlors a hoof up to land a New York casino license?

Only three are available. And, Carl Campanile of the New York Post is hearing from sources who question the casino site process. Specifically, sources tell Campanile they see a connection between:

  • Downstate NY casino interests who donate to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s campaign to stay in office
  • Casino language in the state budget that favors electronic betting parlors

Does state budget favor existing NY gambling facilities?

That budget language gives credit to racetracks with electronic gambling because they have pre-existing infrastructure. That is an edge over bidders who have to build a downstate casino from scratch.

Jason McGuire, president of the New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation, told Campanile that the racino language in the budget is “highly problematic” and that the “fix is in” for casino locations.

Others, including Senate Majority Leader Andrea Sewart-Cousins, see the logic of awarding a full-scale NY casino license to companies with gaming experience.

Her hometown racetrack in Yonkers has already “done the work,” she told the Post. “Of course I’m going to support my hometown casino,” she added.

Who gets the three NY casino licenses?

The state announced its Gaming Facility Location Board (GFLB) members at the start of October. The group now has 90 days to issue a call for casino license applications.

GFLB members will then work with Hochul and the New York State Gaming Commission to award the three downstate licenses.

The two slot parlors that could expand to add table games because of favorable state budget language are:

  • MGM’s Empire City Casino (Yonkers): They added on-site video wagering stations in 2006 but the horse track dates back nearly 125 years.
  • Resorts World Casino (Queens): The 11-year-old casino on Rockaway Boulevard in Queens has 6,500 slot machines and electronic table games including some high-roller rooms.

‘From scratch’ NY casino plans

A week prior to the Post report, PlayNY detailed plans for a Coney Island casino, which would be developed by Thor Equities. This preceded reports that Caesars is working with SL Green to work up a proposal for a casino in the Manhattan-Times Square area.

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen would like to build a casino in Willets Point near Citi Field in Queens. Hard Rock might be a partner there.

There’s a $25 billion development project underway at Hudson Yards, northeast of Madison Square Garden along the Hudson River. Reports tie Wynn Resort to that location.

When the GFLB call for applications arrives in 90 days or less, look for companies from Sands to Bally’s to weigh offers. Genting and Rush Street might weigh bids as well.

Photo by Shutterstock Image
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Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell covered news and sports in Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most decorated community newspapers in the state. He joined PlayIA as a lead writer and managing editor in 2021. He anxious to explore the growing New York gaming industry.

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