With Partner In Hand, Wynn To Pursue One Of Three Downstate NY Casino Licenses

Written By Grant Lucas on September 16, 2022
Downstate New York Casinos Licensing Wynn Resorts Hudson Yards

It appears as if Wynn Resorts will pursue one of the three casino licenses for downstate New York.

As first reported by Bloomberg and the New York Times, Wynn has partnered with Related Cos. to go after one of the available licenses. Related, a real estate developer, is looking to build a casino as part of its $25 billion Hudson Yards project.

According to a statement obtained by Bloomberg, Related brought in Wynn Resorts to seek out licensing and potentially join the NY casinos landscape.

Before announcing the recipients of the three remaining licenses, the New York State Gaming Commission expects to name a six-member 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.

Wynn to pursue NY casino licensing

Related Cos., based out of Manhattan, intends to build an “entertainment and gaming resort” along the Hudson River, according to the Bloomberg report. That obviously would include a casino on the Western Yards next to the Javits Center.

“The Western Yards provides the ideal site for a resort that will reinvigorate our tourism economy and provide billions in tax revenues for the city and state,” Jeff Blau, CEO of Related, said in the statement.

Added Jessica Walker, CEO of Manhattan Chamber of Commerce:

“Siting a casino in Manhattan will help cement our place as the world’s pre-eminent tourism destination. Manhattan’s transportation infrastructure, cultural attractions and convention facilities at Javits present an unparalleled opportunity to maximize gaming revenue for the city and state.”

According to the New York Times, Related has struggled to develop this western half of Hudson Yards, which features active rail lines that would require “a nearly 10-acre platform” built above them. The original section of the Hudson Yards development, which opened in 2019, features a luxury mall, office towers and condominiums.

Still work left before casino licensing occurs

While a big step forward for Related and Wynn, the fate of this potential casino remains in the hands of elected officials and the facility location board, which will include a member appointed each by:

  • Governor
  • Senator
  • Assemblyperson
  • Borough president
  • City council member representing the district
  • NYC mayor

“The gaming commission will decide on where these casinos will be located, but we are hoping two of the three downstate casinos will be placed in New York City,” Fabien Levy, a spokesman for the New York City Mayor Eric Adams, told the New York Times.

Brad Hoylman, a state senator whose district includes Hudson Yards, noted that Related and Wynn “have a steep hill to climb to convince local residents that a casino in Hudson Yards is in their best interests.”

New York City still apple of developers’ eyes

Adams has made it clear that he “would love” to see two new casinos lay roots in New York City. It is believed that video lottery terminals Resorts World New York City (Queens) and Empire City Casino (owned by MGM and in Yonkers) are frontrunners to earn downstate casino licensing.

As for the third? Who knows? Hard Rock and Las Vegas Sands have ties to New York Mets owner Steve Cohen. Cohen would like to see a new casino go up near Citi Field. And property management group SL Green, once connected to Hard Rock, could still be interested in finding a partner to potentially run a casino in Times Square.

However, casino owner and Manhattan real estate titan Jeff Gural said that a Manhattan casino will not receive approval.

“Nobody supports it other than my friends who own real estate and I feel bad for them … They have no shot,” Gural told PlayNY. “No one wants a casino.”

A casino there would present too many challenges, particularly when it comes to problem gambling. Let alone when it comes to competing with everything else New York has to offer. Said Gural:

“It doesn’t do anything for the city. We have so many tourist attractions for someone coming to visit New York, especially now that casinos are all over the country. Most states have casinos but most states don’t have the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, theaters and restaurants and museums.”

Photo by AP / John Locher
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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is the managing editor for PlayNY. A longtime, award-winning sports writer, Grant has covered gambling and legal sports betting since 2018, when he got his start reporting on the New Jersey and Pennsylvania industries. He now oversees PlayNY as New York expands legalized gambling to sports betting and online casino gaming.

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