Any of the three impending downstate New York casinos has the potential to become one of the country’s highest-grossing commercial properties. A full-blown casino resort in New York City, Westchester County or on Long Island will likely attract millions of annual visitors, which easily translates into billions of dollars of economic activity.
The state of New York, ergo, has billions of reasons (i.e.: taxes from legal gambling) to ensure the viability of the downstate casino proposals.
The state’s deliberate approach involves multiple steps and agencies, each with a specific purpose.
In recognition of another deadline in the downstate NY casino license process – the second (and hopefully final) round of questions are due Oct. 6 – here are a few standout questions from the first wave of public submissions to the Gaming Facility Location Board that might make someone wonder who was asking “that” and why they were asking.
Funny? Funny how? Funny like a clown?
There are a handful of inquiries from the first round of public Q&A that are just funny. Well, as much as a generic, routine, mundane government-produced document can be funny, anyway.
This is a favorite. We’re not saying the entity/person who posed this question is affiliated with organized crime. But, it is exactly the type of question someone who is mobbed up would ask.
Q.162: What is meant by “relevant financial interest” in the definition of “Close Associate”?
Another one of our favorites is a chuckle-out-load type of question. The question reads as though the person/entity asking wants the ability to pay more than the set $500 million license fee.
Q.395: Will the GFLB allow for discrete license fees by successful Applicants?
A.395: Yes, an applicant may bid a higher licensing fee above the $500 million minimum.
Which, again, we’re not saying there are nefarious intentions. But it sure sounds an awful lot like, “Hey, before you decide on giving out those casino licenses, could we interest you in this big bag of money we found on the way over here?”
The answer is almost as good as the question, too. Like the GFLB is saying, “Yes, we’d be more than happy to take some of that extra money off your hands.”
State regulators have their own sense of humor
It wasn’t just the questions asked of the GFLB that were amusing. Some of the board’s answers were equally entertaining. There are certain responses that convey an underlining tone from the GFLB that suggests they were getting a bit exasperated.
Our guess is that the people who had to answer some of the submitted questions no longer subscribe to the adage, “There’s no such thing as a dumb question.”
Here’s one example. (For background — it took months for the board to respond to this first round of questions. Months.)
Q.570: In previous RFP’s, the Commission took between two and four weeks to respond to questions. Does the Commission believe it will take a similar amount of time in this process?
A.570: Obviously, no.
At least someone in NY government has a sense of humor.
Another way it became glaringly obvious the Board was running low on patience are the one-word answers. If you listen closely, you can almost hear the “facepalm” of the person who answered this question.
Q.269: Will the State override local zoning to permit a casino use?
Second round of downstate NY casino questions due Friday
Presently, the Gaming Facility Location Board is fielding public questions about the application process. The second — and final — round of questions are due Oct. 6.
The board is under no time constraints to answer these questions. But, once the state releases its answers, casino companies and developers can formally submit a license application. (And, remember, beyond landing boatloads of retail revenue, securing these licenses could go a long way in securing future licenses for NY online casinos, when those are inevitably legalized.)
Don’t get too excited. The application process requires the consent of Community Advisory Committees and local zoning or land-use approvals.
So, the finish line is still a ways off.