‘Nobody Has a Leg Up’ in Pursuit of 3 New York Retail Casino Licenses

Because of the interest in three New York retail casino licenses, “the media” is spreading false information. So says Brian O’Dwyer, the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) chairman. “Nobody has a leg up,” he said on June 26 during a commission meeting.

O’Dwyer added:

This commission has conducted this process with transparency and fairness.

As he said in October 2022, when the NYSGC appointed the Gaming Facility Location Board (GFLB), O’Dwyer emphasized that every applicant for one of three new full licenses for downstate New York commercial casinos will be treated equally.

O’Dwyer commented today during the commission meeting:

No particular influence is going to bear.

Everyone comes to this … exactly the same way.

That also means many applicants will be “disappointed” when they aren’t chosen, he said. However, that’s how the process works, O’Dwyer said.

GFLB’s Update About the 3 New York Retail Casino Licenses

The GFLB began its portion of the downstate retail casino licensee selection process in January.

On Jan. 3, the board started the Request for Applications (RFA) process. As part of the months-long process, the board requests questions from possible future applicants, then answers them.

The board received the first batch of several hundred questions on Feb. 3.

Rinse and repeat.

As state gaming officials were working to answer the two rounds of questions, interested licensees were preparing to apply.

NYSGC Communications Director Brad Maione told Bonus on May 18 that the GFLB “has not yet set a deadline for formal applications.”

On June 13, the GFLB provided an update about “zoning and Community Advisory Committee approval.”

The board’s update reads:

• The Board will review all Applications collectively.

• As the RFA provides, the Board will establish a reasonable amount of time for Applicants to obtain zoning approval for their proposed projects.

• Only those Applications that have been approved by a Community Advisory Committee and obtained zoning approval within this TBD timeline will be considered by the Board.

Several Entities on This List May Be ‘Disappointed’

Considering the board will only select three licensees for the downstate New York retail casinos, O’Dwyer predicts several entities will be “disappointed.”

Below, Bonus tallied possible applicants for the privilege, initially costing them  $1 billion each. Each selected applicant must pay a $500 million license fee and how it plans a “minimum capital investment” of $500 million.

These entities may be submitting applications to the board, but no names have yet been released:

  • Resorts World New York is an existing gaming facility in Queens
  • Empire City Casino is in Yonkers and is an MGM Resorts International property
  • Caesars Palace Times Square” – a proposal from Caesars Entertainment and SL Green Realty Corporation – would renovate 1515 Broadway in Times Square.
  • Saks Fifth Avenue would convert three floors in its 10-story flagship store
  • Citi Field may be an applicant, coming from Mets owner Steve Cohen and Hard Rock International 
  • Coney Island is from developer Thor Equities and many partners 
  • Hudson Yards would come from developer Related Companies and Wynn Resorts 
  • The former Hotel Pennsylvania near Penn Station and Madison Square Garden is the concept 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 could 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 brainchild of Bally’s Corporation

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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