New York Gaming Regulators Omit Downstate Retail Casino License Process Update

New Yorkers tuning into the May 20 New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) meeting for updates on the downstate retail casino license timeline may have been disappointed. NYSGC Executive Director Robert Williams didn’t address the topic, despite Assembly and Senate lawmakers introducing bills on May 17 that would speed up the licensing process.

Residents of the five boroughs and Long Island are especially interested in which possible retail casino licensees will submit formal applications when the commission-appointed siting board requests submissions. Those communities contain the loudest downstate retail casino license opponents.

While many New Yorkers think they know which projects will be approved, the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board (NYSGFLB) hasn’t yet allowed any developers to submit projects. The board is the entity that will select applicants to recommend to the commission for license approval.

At the previous commission meeting on March 25, Williams told the body that it made sense to hold off on the application requests until potential casino licensees could resolve their land use issues. That likely wouldn’t happen until at least Q1 2025.

Those comments and inaction by the siting board since October 2023 spurred state Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. and Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow to introduce bills on May 17. If passed by June 6 and subsequently signed into law by Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul, AB10338 and SB9673 would allow the gaming regulator’s appointed board to consider applicants who still had unresolved land use issues.

The downstate retail casino license approval timeline would then speed up. The siting board would need to select the three winning license applicants by March 31, 2025.

Licensing Acceleration Bills Rest in Committees

As of May 20, both bills sit in the committees led by Addabbo, D-Woodhaven, and Pretlow, D-Mount Vernon.

By accelerating the downstate licensing process, Addabbo and Pretlow would have been helping their online casino effort too, albeit indirectly. There are several obstacles to passing an iGaming bill in New York, but the new retail casinos are one of them. Gov. Hochul has said she wants that issue resolved before she considers further expansion.

Addabbo held 2024’s last Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee meeting on May 14.

Pretlow’s Assembly Standing Committee on Racing and Wagering hasn’t met this year.

The New York State Legislature adjourns on June 6.

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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