Contrary to popular belief, the board that will ultimately recommend which retail casino proposals to present to the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) for approval hasn’t yet requested applications. Yet that day is near for the NYSGC-appointed Gaming Facility Location Board (GFLB). The board may soon request formal applications for three downstate New York retail casino licenses.
Today, NYSGC Chairman Brian O’Dwyer said during a commission meeting:
We’re very much in the final stages.
He said the GFLB will soon respond to the second set of questions from possible license applicants.
A document the commission sent Bonus in February that details the licensing process says the next step for the board is setting a 30-day deadline for license applications.
However, many New Yorkers have been seeing what they thought were proposals under consideration for months now. That’s because licensee hopefuls began issuing press releases about their ideas even before the board began the process on Jan. 3.
That’s when the board issued a Request for Applications (RFA) document to guide the months-long process.
According to that document, the board has been receiving and answering questions from would-be applicants this entire time.
Process for Downstate New York Retail Casino Licenses
Once formal applications arrive to the board, O’Dwyer is correct that the licensing process is nearing its end.
However, that “end” may still be months away.
For example, comparing this process of awarding three new downstate retail casino licenses to what happened when the commission chose four upstate licensees may help.
The upstate GFLB issued its RFA on March 31, 2014. The board made its licensee recommendations to the commission on Dec. 17, 2014.
Within that 2014 process, the board responded to the second set of would-be licensee questions on May 14 and expected applications returned on June 30.
The 2023 board is almost where the 2014 board was on May 14, 2014.
All Eyes Are on the Process
No matter how often O’Dwyer emphasized that the board hadn’t made up its mind yet, New Yorkers kept saying certain expected license applicants were already chosen for the new projects.
Many mounted opposition to the downstate New York retail casino licenses.
One complicated example is again scheduled for an appearance on Tuesday before Justice Sarika Kapoor in the Nassau Supreme Court. That appearance has already been delayed three times.
What Kapoor may hear on Tuesday in Hofstra University vs. Nassau County Planning Commission is Hofstra attorneys saying the NCPC violated open meetings laws when deciding to grant a lease to Las Vegas Sands. Sands leased 72 acres that is currently known as the home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Sands wants to build a casino there.
However, as is the case with all of the proposals New Yorkers have seen, the Sands project hasn’t yet been chosen by the board, let alone the commission.
A Few Names Regularly Appear
Meanwhile, here are some projects New Yorkers have been discussing.
Again, the board and commission haven’t requested formal applications yet, so these are just proposals the companies made public themselves:
- Resorts World New York is in Queens and may expand
- The same is true of Empire City Casino in Yonkers, which is an MGM Resorts International property
- “Caesars Palace Times Square” is a proposal from Caesars Entertainment and SL Green Realty Corporation to renovate 1515 Broadway in Times Square.
- Saks Fifth Avenue wants to convert the top three floors of its 10-story flagship store
- Citi Field is an announced project from Mets owner Steve Cohen and Hard Rock International
- Coney Island is another proposed site, which is from developer Thor Equities and many partners
- Hudson Yards is by developer Related Companies and Wynn Resorts
- The former Hotel Pennsylvania near Penn Station and Madison Square Garden is the vision of Vornado Realty Trust
- The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum may be “a multi-billion-dollar flagship hospitality, entertainment, and casino project on Long Island, New York,” by Las Vegas Sands
- United Nations headquarters guests may see a Ferris wheel, a “Democracy Museum,” a large hotel, and a retail casino if developer Soloviev Group and Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment build the Freedom Plaza
- Developing a casino at the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx is the proposal from Bally’s Corporation