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NYC Casinos Won't Be Selected Before Late 2025

State regulators have disclosed that they won't be picking the winners in the high-stakes bidding war for three NYC-area casino licenses until late 2025.

This means it's unlikely that any of the billion-dollar gaming palaces that have been proposed in NYC will be opening their doors before the end of 2026 or later.

Robert Williams, executive director of NY's state Gaming Commission, noted at a recent public hearing that the City Council has yet to approve a zoning amendment to facilitate the development of casinos in NYC, the New York Post reported.

Several of the proposed casino projects would first need to be approved under the city's lengthy Uniformed Land Use Review Procedure, Williams said. Bidders also will have to undergo a separate state environment impact assessment required by the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

"I have been informally advised that navigating the process will extend through the second quarter of 2025," Williams said.

However, the commission director insisted that the state's timetable for awarding three coveted casino NYC-area licenses is "ahead of schedule" because Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state legislature have not anticipated revenues from casinos—which like Manhattan's new congestion tolls will go into the coffers of the MTA—until 2026.

Winning bidders must ante up a $500M license fee to operate a casino in the NYC area.

Williams said two of the casino bid proposals, Mets owner Steve Cohen's bid for a casino next to Citi Field and Bally's proposal for a casino at Ferry Point in The Bronx, will need approval from the state legislature to change the designation of the properties from parkland to commercial use.

After environmental reviews are completed during the first half of 2025, Community Advisory Committees—which include legislators and borough presidents—will hold later-summer votes in 2025 to support or reject a casino bid, Williams said.

The two operating "racinos" in the NYC area—Resorts World New York's slots parlor at Aqueduct race track in Queens and the MGM slots parlor at Yonkers raceway—are positioned to convert quickly into full-scale casinos if they are awarded licenses.

Genting Malaysia Bhd, which runs Resorts World New York, this week issued a public pledge that a full casino at its venue will deliver $1B or more in annual taxes to the state if its bid to convert the property into a Vegas-style casino hotel is chosen as a winning bid.

Currently a slots-only venue with no table games, Resorts World New York paid $600M in taxes to the state last year, Bloomberg reported.

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Reprinted with permission from the Wed, 10 Apr 2024 05:45:11 EDT online edition of GlobeSt © 2024 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited, contact 877-256-2472 or reprints@alm.com.