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Applicants interested in Downstate New York retail casino licenses sent their first round of questions to the siting board.

New York casino applicants had to submit Round 1 of questions to the New York Gaming Facility Board (NYGFB) by 4 p.m. on Feb. 3 to continue in the process that each hope will culminate in receiving a full retail casino license. Three licenses are available.

However, the process that began on Jan. 3 is slated to take months to complete.

On Feb. 2, Brad Maione – communications director for the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) that appointed the siting board – answered questions from Bonus.

Maioine said:

Once Commission staff process the questions received the procedure will hew to the format used in 2014.

That’s when a similar siting board chose recipients of four Upstate New York retail casino licenses. Once this board picks three, a total of seven full casino licenses allowed by New York law will be complete.

After this, the timeframe is largely “to be announced.”

For instance, applicants had to submit their questions for the board by 4 p.m. today.

However, the siting board said:

Board responses to first set of questions: To be announced.

Then New York casino applicants will have “30 Days from the Board’s response to the first set of questions” to submit Round 2 of their questions by 4 p.m. on that due date.

Expectations May Not Be New York Casino Applicants Reality

Many Downstate New York casino license hopefuls have presented their proposed projects to the public.

It’s unlikely that the entities telling the public about their proposals wouldn’t then submit applications to the siting board, but press releases aren’t official applications. So it’s possible some of what’s listed below won’t be among the New York casino applicants.

Most New Yorkers expect the Queens gambling facility, Resorts World New York, to try for one of the full licenses. That’s especially true because Bonus heard a Resorts executive say so on Sept. 22 at the East Coast Gaming Congress and NexGen Gaming Forum (ECGC) in Atlantic City.

Another existing Downstate New York gaming facility, Empire City Casino in Yonkers, may also be in the mix. The MGM Resorts International property also doesn’t yet have a full license.

But Wait! There’s More!

Then the razzle-dazzle begins.

Among the proposals seen by the public so far are:

  • What’s being called Caesars Palace Times Square. Caesars Entertainment and SL Green Realty Corporation want to renovate 1515 Broadway. That has the potential to bring more lights and sounds to Times Square.
  • A proposal from Saks Fifth Avenue to convert the top three floors of its 10-story flagship store to a retail casino.
  • Citi Field may be the site of a casino if Mets owner Steve Cohen and Hard Rock International submit an application that’s ultimately approved.
  • Coney Island may have a large adult playground if developer Thor Equities and many partners succeed.
  • Hudson Yards may have a casino near the rail yard if its developer, Related Companies, brings its planned project with Wynn Resorts to fruition.
  • Renovations at the former Hotel Pennsylvania near Penn Station and Madison Square Garden are the brainchild of Vornado Realty Trust.
  • The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum may become “a multi-billion-dollar flagship hospitality, entertainment, and casino project on Long Island, New York,” if the Las Vegas Sands project is chosen for a license.
  • The United Nations headquarters visitors will be able to see a Ferris wheel, a “Democracy Museum,” a large hotel, and a retail casino if developer Soloviev Group and Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment are among the approved New York casino applicants. Much like Caesars Palace Times Square, the proposed project already has a name: Freedom Plaza.

Questions From Each New York Casino Applicant

Maione emailed Bonus what Upstate New York casino applicants asked the 2014 siting board. It was a 90-page-long document that included their questions from Round 1.

If today’s questions are similar, it’s why the gaps between the stages of the process last 30 days.

Probably one of the most relevant questions for today’s casino applicants is this one from 2014:

Q.93: If there are bids for multiple sites by one applicant, will more than one application fee be required?

A.93: No.

The application fee is $1 million.

About the Author
Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is the lead writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She had her first published byline at age 10, but didn't get paid for her writing until she got her first newspaper job. Fletcher's newspaper career started at Suburban News Publications in Ohio and eventually took her to The New York Times, where she's still a contract freelance reporter for the National Desk. She covers breaking news from Philadelphia, as needed. In March 2021, Fletcher began writing about online casino gambling as the lead writer for Online Poker Report.

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