Home News New York legislators pass bill speeding up the downstate casino processes

New York legislators pass bill speeding up the downstate casino processes

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The Senate and Assembly have passed legislation that will set a deadline to the licensing of casinos in New York. It is now being sent to Governor. Kathy Hochul for approval.

The Assembly voted 51-9 to approve SB9673 on June 7, and state senators approved it by 51-4. This bill was sponsored by Sen. Joe Addabbo and would set a date for the selection of three casinos in New York’s downstate. New York’s legislature was scheduled to adjourn June 6, but they stayed beyond that date to vote on this bill.

Addabbo added an amendment before the bill passed that mandates that the New York Gaming Facility Location Board make recommendations by December 31, 2025 on downstate casinos. The last possible date for the issuance of licenses would be March 31st, 2026. Addabbo’s first proposal was introduced on 17 May, with only two weeks remaining in the legislative session. It had been an earlier deadline.

Theoretically, things could move much faster than March 2026’s deadline as SB9673 permits interested developers to submit casino license applications while they are still resolving issues with land use. The amended bill requires that applications be submitted by August 31st of this year.

Addabbo estimates that the license fees for three new casinos alone could be worth up to $3 Billion. He believes that developers would bid as much as $1 Billion on each casino.

Hochul is likely to sign the bill, given her past advocacy for the expansion of retail casinos.

It’s time to move!

Since October, the New York Gaming Facility Location Board has not been able to move forward with the awarding of three licenses for casinos in the region. The New York Gaming Facility Location Board assessed a second set of questions posed by potential applicants who were interested in one license.

First set of questions were submitted in 2023 in February and answers in August. Board members clarified some important points. For example, any casino awarded a license in the downstate area will have the option to include a retail sportsbook within the facility. Initial license fees will start at $500 million. This is around half what Addabbo expects the casinos to eventually fetch. The minimum expected capital investment for the building of the facility is $500 million, this does not include fees such as consultation or lobbying.

New York opened its bidding for three commercial casinos last January. MGM Resorts International Caesars Entertainment and Hard Rock International are among the companies that have initially laid out plans for a downstate casino.

The pace of development has stagnated since then. New York State Gaming Commissionn Executive Director Robert Williams stated in March that the lengthy reviews of environmental impacts of new properties will not be completed until the first quarter next year. The reviews could cause delays if the applicant’s are required to make changes as a result of their findings.

To avoid any further delays and pivots, the Commission has encouraged applicants to make sure that their proposals are in compliance with all the requirements by the end of 2024.

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