NY Gaming Commission Issues RFI On Three Remaining Casino Licenses

Written By Mike Mazzeo on October 21, 2021
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The New York State Gaming Commission has issued a request for information regarding interest in the three unawarded commercial casino licenses. The NYSGC announced the RFI on Wednesday in a news release.

The commission says it wants input from both interested and affected parties, though “the statutory directive places greatest significance on those who have an interest in bidding for development of a commercial gaming facility.”

The deadline for submission of questions is Nov. 10, with the RFI submission date set for Dec. 10.

Where things stand with NY casino licenses

New York currently has a quartet of commercial casinos upstate: Rivers Schenectady, Tioga Downs, Resorts World Catskills, and del Lago. These four represent the first of seven casinos voters authorized in 2013.

There has been a moratorium in place stating that the state cannot issue the three remaining licenses until 2023. But it appears that policymakers are prepared to revisit the moratorium due to the growing deficit caused by the COVID pandemic.

Among the topics contemplated in the RFI are interest, locations, scale, transportation, and taxation.

Addabbo behind the push to expedite expansion

NY Sen. Joe Addabbo had hoped to expedite the process of awarding licenses for three downstate casinos.

“We were so close. And because we were so close, I’m hoping my colleagues feel that enthusiasm about expediting,” Addabbo told PlayNY in late September. “It would only be a year quicker than the 2023 timeframe that it’s already on. But if we can expedite the timeframe for the downstate licenses to 2022, we could realize over $1 billion in revenue for that third license.”

Empire City Casino in Yonkers and Resorts World Aqueduct Raceway in Queens are currently operating as video lottery terminals, and one plan would see them both turn into full-scale casinos. MGM purchased the Yonkers property in early 2019 for a cool $850 million.

A third license would additionally be granted for a location to be determined. Somewhere in the five boroughs like Manhattan or Brooklyn could be an option, as could Long Island or the lower Hudson Valley.

If Addabbo’s hunch is correct, the price tag on that last license could be astronomical.

Lead photo: Oleg Dudko | Dreamstime

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Mike Mazzeo

Mike Mazzeo is a contributing writer for PlayNY, reporting on legal sports betting in New York while covering the potential legalization of NY online casinos and poker. He previously wrote for ESPN, the New York Daily News and The Ringer, among others.

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