June 16, 2024

With just 11 days left in this year’s legislative session, a pair of New York policymakers are pushing bills aimed at accelerating the currently sluggish process of awarding three downstate casino permits.

New York iGaming online gaming Joseph Addabbo
New York lawmaker Joseph Addabbo. He and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow are pushing bills to accelerate the approvals of downstate casino licenses. (Image: New York State Senate)

In their respective houses of the legislature, Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Queens) and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow (D-Mount Vernon) recently proposed bills that, if signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), would prompt bidders for the New York City area casinos to submit applications by July 31, potentially paving the way for approvals by the middle of 2025.

That timeline improves upon current prognostications indicating that approvals of the downstate casino permits might not arrive until late 2025 or early the following year. The Addabbo/Pretlow bills propose that the New York Gaming Facilities Board make recommendations on three winning bidders as soon as March 31, 2025.

Upon completion of the board’s preliminary review, the board  shall provide  the  applicant  with written notice of its determination,” according to text from Pretlow’s bill. “Where the board determines that the application is not sufficient for delivery to the community advisory board, the board must provide  the  applicant, in writing, the reasons for such determination. The applicant shall have twenty-one days from receipt of the written notice to amend their application and  resubmit  to  the  board in the same manner as the original application. The board shall then have seven days to review the amended application and issue a final determination on sufficiency.”

Should Hochul sign the legislation into law, it would represent a nine-month reduction in awarding the license. The New York Gaming Commission (NYGC) recently said it’s hoping to accomplish that goal by Dec. 31, 2025.

Accelerated Timeline Could Help Some New York Casino Bidders

While Addabbo and Pretlow maintain their bills aren’t designed to favor one bidder over another, the likelihood exists that if their legislation becomes law, some competitors could benefit while others could be pinched.

For example, Genting-owned Resorts World New York in Queens and MGM Resorts International’s Empire City Casino in Yonkers could benefit from an accelerated timeline in approving casino applications because those venues are already operational as slots-only properties, indicating the infrastructure is there to make a relatively quick transition to Las Vegas-style casinos. Addabbo represents the district that includes the Genting property.

Likewise, a faster pathway to clarity could be advantageous for Las Vegas Sands in its quest to bring a casino hotel to Nassau Hub in Uniondale.

Conversely, if New York pursues a faster timetable for approving casino applications, contenders such as New York Mets owner Steve Cohen and Hard Rock International, as well as Bally’s, could be burdened. Cohen and Hard Rock are partnering on the $8 billion Metropolitan Park plan in Queens while Bally’s wants to develop a casino resort at a golf course in the Bronx. Both groups need lawmakers to introduce legislation to alter the parkland designation currently applied to their sites, but it’s not clear if that will happen over the near term.

Time Not on Side of New York Casino Legislation

There are compelling reasons for lawmakers to advance the Addabbo/Pretlow bills. Application fees are slated to be $500 million apiece, maybe more, for the winning bidders. Not to mention expectations of thousands of temporary and permanent jobs being created.

Those jobs mean more income tax collected by New York and state coffers will be further bolstered by new sales tax streams created by the casinos as well taxes paid to the state by the operators.

However, the timeline may not be conducive to advancing the Addabbo/Pretlow legislation. The New York legislature doesn’t meet on Fridays, so this is a four-day week. Next week’s calendar is reduced to three days due to the Memorial Day holiday on May 27, and the session ends on Thursday, June 6. That leaves 11 days in which policymakers can advance the casino acceleration bills, and that might not be enough.

The post New York Pols Push Bills to Accelerate Casino Approvals appeared first on Casino.org.

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