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New York Extends Downstate Casino Bid Deadline to 2025,

The New York State Gaming Facility Location Board has extended the bid deadline for three downstate casino licenses to June 27, 2025, diverging from a Senate bill proposing an August 2024 deadline.
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Branimir Ivanov | Senior News Contributor

Updated: Jul 3, 2024

New York Proposal might Clash with Senate Decision

The New York State Gaming Facility Location Board has extended the bid deadline for three coveted downstate casino licenses to June 27, 2025. This extension provides potential bidders with additional time to prepare their proposals, contrasting with a legislative push to expedite the process. The extension highlights ongoing debates over the timing and logistics of expanding New York’s gaming landscape.

 

Deadline Extension Conflicts with Legislative Push

The board’s decision to prolong the bidding process comes as a direct contrast to NY Senate Bill S9673A. Introduced by Senator Joe Addabbo and passed in early June, the bill proposes an earlier deadline of August 31, 2024, citing the need to quickly resume casino operations and address the state’s funding gaps. Despite legislative urgency, the bill still awaits Governor Kathy Hochul’s signature, and its implementation remains uncertain.

Board member Stuart Rabinowitz expressed concerns about the feasibility of the August deadline, stating, “The August 2024 deadline would put some potential applicants under a lot of pressure and would favor some and disfavor others.” This sentiment reflects the board's stance that a more extended timeline ensures a thorough and equitable bidding process.

 

Key Dates and Financial Commitments

According to the extended timeline, the board will announce the bid winners by December 1, 2025. Successful applicants are required to pay a $500 million license fee by December 31, 2025. This framework provides a structured yet extended period for review and decision-making.

Qualified bids will first be evaluated by a six-person Community Advisory Committee (CAC), comprising key figures such as Governor Hochul, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, the respective borough president, an assembly person, a city council member, and the applicable state senator. This committee is tasked with reviewing bids and providing recommendations by September 30, 2025.

Once the CAC supports a bid, it will undergo a final review by the board between November and December 2025. Applicants must complete essential entitlement processes, including land-use permits and zoning approvals, before the board’s final evaluation.

 

Competing for a Transformative Opportunity

Eleven applicants are vying for the three available downstate casino slots, a competitive race that features prominent developers and casino operators. The bids span several high-profile locations, with notable contenders including:

  • Avenir: Silverstein Properties and Greenwood Gaming, Manhattan
  • Bally’s Links at Ferry Point: Bally’s Corporation, The Bronx
  • Caesars Palace Times Square: Caesars Entertainment, SL Green, Roc Nation, Manhattan
  • The Coney: Thor Equities, Legends Entertainment, the Chickasaw Nation, Saratoga Casino Holdings, Brooklyn
  • Freedom Plaza: Soloviev Group and Mohegan Gaming, Manhattan
  • Metropolitan Park: Steven Cohen and Hard Rock International, Queens
  • MGM Empire City: MGM Resorts International, Yonkers
  • Resorts World New York City: Genting Group, Queens
  • Sands New York: Las Vegas Sands, Long Island, Nassau County
  • Saks Fifth Avenue: Hudson’s Bay Company, Manhattan
  • Wynn New York City: Related Companies, Oxford Properties Group, Wynn Resorts, Manhattan

 

A Decade in the Making

The downstate casino initiative is part of a broader strategy established by a 2013 New York legislature decision, allowing the state to host up to seven casinos—four upstate and three downstate. The protracted timeline aimed to give upstate casinos a competitive foothold before launching downstate operations.

Chair of the Gaming Facility Location Board, Vicki Been, emphasized the importance of the extended deadline: “This timeline encompasses all legal requirements that potential bidders must meet before we may evaluate applications. This roadmap also gives communities ample opportunity to have their voices heard, establishes a level playing field among multiple competitors, and affords serious applicants the opportunity to participate in a lucrative and transformational process.”

 

Future Considerations

As the state navigates the complexities of expanding its gaming sector, the debate over the bid deadline reflects broader challenges in balancing legislative priorities with practical implementation. The outcome will not only shape the future of New York's casino industry but also impact local economies and state revenue streams.

In related news, the issue of legalizing online casinos in New York remains unresolved, with potential progress contingent on forthcoming legislative sessions. Governor Hochul’s anticipated special session to discuss funding for the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) may also provide an opportunity for further deliberations on the online casino bill.

As stakeholders await Governor Hochul’s decision on the August deadline, the extended bidding period offers a comprehensive approach to evaluating and selecting bids, ensuring the process aligns with both regulatory requirements and community interests.

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