The beginning is normally a good place to start things. It’s not always the best place to restart things, however, but that’s what is happening with a New York State Gaming Commission study.
The study itself is behind schedule, so the commission restarted its search for a firm to do it. The commission also pushed back the timeline for the study’s completion.
As those results are uncertain, the fate of New York casinos and the rest of the gaming industry hangs in the balance. The ramifications of the study are serious.
Why this New York State Gaming Commission study is so important
Simply put, the commission intended to draw future decisions from the wellspring of information of this study. That could include everything from online betting tax rates to regulations on daily fantasy sports in NY.
It isn’t as though the information from the study would be tucked away for a rainy day, either. The commission faces several important decisions soon.
Among them is the possible development of three casinos in the New York City area. Operators have expressed concerns about existing casinos, which haven’t produced the revenue originally projected.
To demonstrate just how far below expectations New York’s upstate casinos have performed, the largest of the four has just been sold. The casino was over $400 million in debt.
A delay on the study means a delay on possible revisions to regulations. While there is some merit to the decision, it’s overall a bad optic.
Why the commission is starting over from scratch
The spin from the commission is that accuracy is more important than expediency. Gaming Commission Executive Director Rob Williams laid out that position.
“We were concerned that the aggressive timeline might result in compromised data and determined speed was less valuable than accuracy, especially given the intention that the product might be used to advise future policy determinations.”
The study’s completion had fallen over a month behind schedule. While the original four-month timeline may have been overly optimistic, that delay may have played a part in the commission’s decision to take the process all the way back to its initial stage.
The commission has reopened the bidding process to complete the study. That pushes the new timeline for the study’s completion to June 2020.
Casinos in New York City and a revised tax structure for all gaming operators in the Empire State may eventually become realities. That won’t happen anytime soon, however, and this delay pushes those possibilities even further into a hypothetical future.