For The State’s Consideration: South Bronx Assemblymember Wants Downstate Casino

Written By Mike Mazzeo on April 27, 2022 - Last Updated on May 27, 2022

Assemb. Amanda Septimo would like the South Bronx to merit consideration for one of the three downstate New York casino licenses.

Septimo made her pitch on behalf of her district to several local media outlets in recent days. Septimo told Pix11:

“The South Bronx is a place that gets left out of a lot of economic development thinking and a lot of conversation and meaningful economic development. We want to make sure the South Bronx is in the conversation.”

Political support emerges for South Bronx casino

In these early stages, having the backing of local politicians represents an important step for any interested entity looking to find a potential site on which to build a property.

It could bring thousands of jobs to any community, though concern remains regarding lower-income residents losing their money gambling at the properties.

The New York State Gaming Commission must name a six-member NY facility location board by Oct. 6. The board would then issue a request for applications within 90 days of a majority of members earning appointments.

Mayor Eric Adams has said he’d like to see New York City receive two of the three licenses.

Preliminary discussions have begun surrounding several possible downstate locations:

  • Times Square
  • Herald Square
  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Along the East River
  • Governor’s Island
  • Citi Field-Willets Point
  • Coney Island
  • Brooklyn Navy Yard
  • Belmont Park

Read More: Challenges Aplenty: Where Could Third Downstate New York Casino License Go?

Does a NY casino in South Bronx make sense?

After tweeting support for a casino in the area, Septimo told the Bronx Times that she faced “natural skepticism.”

“We never want to be in a position where folks are feeling like the project is being jammed down their throat, that they weren’t considered or talked about.”

City council member Rafael Salamanca Jr. could see a casino settling at the vacant Hunts Points waterfront property in the same area. Salamanca noted that he remains open to hearing any input to ensure “the right fit.”

“And if it’s something that could be a reality and my community could benefit from, I will support it,” Salamanca told the Bronx Times.

Where NY casino expansion stands

Casinos like Hard Rock, Las Vegas Sands, Wynn and Bally’s have shown interest in a coveted NY casino license. Any casino license will cost a minimum fee of $500 million.

It will be an open competitive bidding process. But video lottery terminals Resorts World NYC and MGM Empire City stand as frontrunners due to speed to market. Both facilities already went through zoning and have community backing.

A recent Siena Poll showed that New Yorkers support moving forward with the three downstate casino licenses: 46% approved and 35% disapproved.

Interestingly, according to Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg, upstate residents appear less supportive of three NYC-area casinos.

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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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