Early 2026 Becomes New York Casino License Bill Deadline, Nearing Hochul’s Reelection Bid

A bill designed to expedite the downstate New York casino licensing process saw a change on June 4 that effectively brings licensee selection into March 2026. If lawmakers approve SB9673, it’s likely to happen on June 7, state Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. told Bonus on June 5.

Addabbo, D-Woodhaven, said scheduling a vote in the wee hours of June 7 will allow members of the Assembly enough time to digest the amended New York casino license bill. He worked with the Assembly until after midnight on June 5 to get the “language together.”

So, that chamber of the New York State Legislature is also working past the adjournment initially scheduled for June 6.

Addabbo said approving SB9673 will create an end-point for the casino licensing process that has been stalled since Oct. 6, 2023.

He said of the bill:

It lends credibility to an inefficient, maybe flawed, process.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee told Bonus that the next 72 hours will be crucial.

He explained to Bonus that passing the measure became even more urgent earlier that day. Because, on June 5, Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul announced that she wouldn’t implement a “congestion pricing system” that would’ve implemented “a $15 charge on cars entering Midtown [Manhattan] and below.”

Addabbo said Hochul pressing “pause” on congestion pricing pleases his Queens constituents. However, lawmakers will need to find a new source of MTA funding fast.

He told Bonus:

That’s why it’s imperative that we accelerate these licenses.

The New York Times estimated Hochul’s decision eliminated $1 billion in funding for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The city’s public transportation system was counting on that money, already spending at least $507 million of it on infrastructure plans.

Passing SB9673 will generate $2.75 billion to $3 billion in application and casino licensing fees, Addabbo told Bonus. That money would head to the MTA and education, along with an ongoing percentage of casino revenue coming from taxes, he said.

Addabbo believes developers will bid up to $1 billion on each license. Beforehand, submitting a formal application for consideration involves a $1 million fee.

How the New York Casino License Bill Changed

Addabbo first proposed SB9673 on May 17. At that time, the bill outlined what Addabbo calls the “acceleration” of the selection process for three full downstate commercial casino licenses. It included a deadline for licensee selection of March 31, 2025.

On June 4, the amended due date on the New York casino license bill became Dec. 31, 2025, but includes a 90-day leeway that brings license awards into March 2026.

Here’s the bill’s wording on that possible extension into March 2026:

If the board has not made recommendations to the commission by December thirty-first, two thousand twenty-five, the board may, for good cause shown, grant a thirty-day extension by which it must issue its recommendation to the commission. … The commission shall select up to three applicants to receive licenses within thirty days of the board making such recommendations outlined in subdivision five of this section. The commission may, for good cause shown, extend the selection of up to three licenses for up to thirty days.

What SB9673 Does

On March 25, the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) learned from the gaming regulator’s executive director, Robert Williams, that the process was stalled while potential casino developers resolved their land use issues.

Williams said it didn’t make sense for the commission’s appointed siting board — the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board (NYSGFLB) — to request formal license applications yet. That’s because developers wouldn’t have their land use issues resolved until at least Q1 2025.

Those land use issues from potential licensees range from rezoning matters to legal fights.

Addabbo told Bonus that New Yorkers knew how to “multitask.” Enter SB9673 and its companion bill in the Assembly, AB10338.

The bills allow developers to apply for licenses while they resolve land use issues.

However, the measure must pass before the legislature adjourns. Otherwise, Hochul won’t have the opportunity to sign it into law.

If it reaches her, Hochul will likely sign the New York casino license bill. She’s advocated for retail casino expansions and listens to the retail casino workers union, which favors the new licenses.

Addabbo noted that in 2022, Hochul also negotiated earmarking the commercial casino licensing fees and tax revenue for the MTA.

Meanwhile, if the licensing process that began on Jan. 3, 2023, does speed up, Hochul may be able to discuss the arriving funds and expected new jobs during her reelection campaign, which culminates on Nov. 3, 2026.

Similarly, state Sen. Jessica Ramos, D-East Elmhurst, may choose to bring up her May 28, 2024, announcement about declining to rezone land for an $8 billion casino proposal if she runs for New York City mayor. Incumbent Eric Adams is a legal gambling expansion advocate and is running for reelection on Nov. 4, 2025.

If Adams loses, his last day as mayor is Jan. 1, 2026.

If Ramos vacates her Senate seat, her successor may be asked to rezone parkland at Flushing Meadows Corona Park to gaming facility-eligible. That would mean New York Mets owner Steven A. Cohen could again try to include a Hard Rock International casino in a 50-acre project in Queens.

Meanwhile, Addabbo said his only concerns are about the immediate needs of his constituents, which he’s hoping to address by passing the New York casino license bill:

I’m hoping that we can pass it on Friday.

About the Author

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is Lead Writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She specializes in breaking news, legislative coverage, and gambling marketing strategy overviews. To reach Heather with a news tip, email [email protected].
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