New York’s Gaming Regulator Will Do As Governor Wishes About Casino Licensing Acceleration Bill

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The New York downstate retail casino licensing selection process hasn’t accelerated yet, despite the New York State Legislature‘s approval of SB9673. On June 24, the state regulator’s executive director said the commission would wait until the governor decided on the bill.

The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) will follow the direction chosen by Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul. That was the update from NYSGC Executive Director Robert Williams.

He said so during the commission’s meeting on June 24. As of that date, SB9673 hadn’t been delivered to Hochul for her signature. That signature would enact the bill.

Williams explained to the commission that his previous update about the license selection process accounted for the staff allowing time for the largest group of commercial casino license applicants. He’d told the body during its March 25 meeting that many would-be licensees were experiencing land use issues that wouldn’t be resolved until at least Q1 2025.

That March 25 update from Williams spurred legislators to seek to accelerate the casino licensing process, which has stalled since October 2023.

Accelerating Casino Licensing

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., D-Woodhaven, introduced SB9673 on May 17. The Assembly took up the bill on June 6. The measure passed on June 7.

Addabbo told Bonus on June 8 that he planned to work with Hochul on enacting the bill. The measure would allow the regulator’s appointed siting board to consider applicants for the three licenses while they resolved their land use issues instead of afterward. He emphasized that the potential $2.75 billion to $3 billion in application and licensing fees that could arrive by March 2026 under SB9673 became even more relevant on June 5. That’s when Hochul paused the congestion pricing program that was slated to fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).

The program was slated to generate $1 billion in revenue for the MTA.

Meanwhile, New York online casino, poker, and iLottery bill proponents are emphasizing to Hochul that Addabbo’s bill legalizing iGaming would generate $1 billion. They’re advocating an emergency legislative session to pass Addabbo’s SB8185.

While Hochul is on record as advocating expanding legal gambling via land-based casinos, she hasn’t said the same about iGaming. She’s known for backing unions, and SB8185 is opposed by the retail casino workers union, the New York Hotel Trades Council (HTC).

Grant Lucas of PlayNY broke the news on June 19 about the possible July legislative session. Bonus and PlayNY are Catena Media publications.

Location Board Meets June 27

The board appointed by the gaming regulator, the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board (NYSGFLB), is holding a public meeting on June 27 in Harlem.

NYSGC Chairman Brian O’Dwyer told the commission on June 24 that the board would provide an update on the deadline for formal applications from developers interested in bidding on the three licenses.

Although many developers have made their plans public, none have yet formally applied for the licenses.

In related business, the commission unanimously approved appointing board member Vicki Been as chairwoman of the NYSGFLB. Commissioners appointed her and two other board members in October 2022.

Concluding the meeting, O’Dwyer thanked Williams for his work on the downstate retail casino licensing process.

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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