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New York State Gaming Facility Location Board approved a new bid deadline of June 27, 2025, for three downstate casinos

On Thursday, June 27, the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board approved a new bid deadline of June 27, 2025, for three downstate casinos. This decision was made despite a bill awaiting Governor Kathy Hochul’s signature, which proposes a deadline of August 31, 2024.

New York law permits the establishment of three downstate casinos, intended to be brick-and-mortar facilities located in and around New York City. Currently, 11 bidders are vying to place casinos in areas ranging from Times Square to Brooklyn. These bidders are proposing various projects to gain support, including resorts, housing units, and neighborhood improvements.

Senator Joe Addabbo’s bill (S9673A), which passed through both the House and Senate in early June, suggests a tighter deadline of August 31, 2024, for bid submissions. However, Governor Hochul has not yet signed the bill into law. If approved, the legislation would require bidders to submit their proposals by the end of this summer. However, the Facility Location Board members expressed concerns that this timeline is too restrictive.

Board's Perspective on Deadlines

During the board meeting, members highlighted that the bids cannot be reviewed until all entitlements and zoning approvals are secured, making the August 2024 deadline impractical. Board Chair Vicki Been mentioned, “The hope would be that our reasoning will be helpful to the governor.” This statement subtly indicates that while politicians may favor a quicker deadline, the logistical realities make it impractical.

Bidders must have zoning changes approved and environmental impact studies completed before their bids can be reviewed. Notably, Bally’s Bronx and Steve Cohen’s Queens proposal need rezoning since the sites are currently designated as parkland. Both proposals are pushing for these changes but have yet to secure the necessary approvals.

Board member Stuart Rabinowitz acknowledged that should Governor Hochul sign the bill into law, it would override the board’s decision, creating a legal framework with a stricter timeline. This uncertainty adds another layer of complexity for the bidders and the board alike.

Current Casino Proposals

The list of current proposals includes a mix of commercial and tribal operators. The proposals and their developers and operators include:

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

Future Discussions and Legislative Actions

The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) is poised to follow Governor Hochul’s direction should she approve the expedited legislation. During a recent meeting, NYSGC Executive Director Robert Williams outlined the legislative timelines and the steps to be taken once the governor signs the bill.

Key dates in the proposed legislation include:

  • Official applications due by August 31, 2024.
  • Community Advisory Committee (CAC) consultants to be hired by August 31, 2024.
  • CACs established by October 30, 2024.
  • CACs to vote on casino bids by February 27, 2025.
  • The Gaming Facility Location Board to vote on recommendations by December 31, 2025.

Williams noted that the Gaming Facility Location Board might extend their decision on license recipients to March 31, 2026, if necessary.

Source: NY Facility Location Board extends downstate casino bid deadline to June 2025, igamingbusiness.com, June 28, 2024. 

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