Saturday, October 1 2022

While casino gaming is set to come to upstate New York, there’s still a lot to be seen about how this expansion will pan out.. Tuesday morning, the remarks of a panel of gaming experts at the Racing and Gaming Conference in Saratoga added further uncertainty to what the schedule will look like, including a potential scenario of a lengthy licensing process.

When will this expansion take place and whether the three available licenses will be issued, are currently the biggest questions that remain to be answered. And at yesterday’s conference, experts have come to different conclusions. Speakers included Assemblyman Gary Pretlow (D-Mount Vernon) and former Governor David Paterson, now Senior Vice President of Las Vegas Sands.

Paterson told conference attendees he believed all three licenses would be awarded for locations in or around New York City. However, he rejected one of them being distributed in the near future “because of the time that seems to be inherent in the process,” reports The central square. He further described the approval process as long and arduous, which could take longer than expected.

Next, a Gaming Facility Location Committee (GFLB) consisting of five members should be created.with a majority of roles to be named by October 4. Once this happens, the board will then have 90 days to create a solicitation inviting gaming companies to apply for one of three licenses.


Assemblyman Gary Pretlow

However, before candidates can stand before the state, they must first gain the support of at least two-thirds of a local advisory council.. This body would include the state assemblyman, state senator, and local council member who represent the site proposed in the bid. Other members would be appointed by the governor, mayor, and county executive or borough president if proposed by New York City.

Local approval would then be followed by a decision by the GFLB, with the board responsible for considering whether the application should be referred to the Gambling Commission.. The commissioners would then launch a fitness test before rendering a decision. Add to that securing zoning approvals, and next year’s results being the earliest possible time frame for licensing – but even then the process could take even longer.

These coveted licenses come at a price: the law that governs them sets a minimum price of $500 million for each. Still, many parties have already shown interest in them, including MGM Resorts, which owns Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway; and Genting Group, which operates Resorts World Casino New York City at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens.

These two sites currently host hundreds of video lottery terminals, but their offerings do not include Las Vegas-style casino games, such as slots or table games with live dealers. If they land licenses – a scenario that many consider likely, given the speed of the market and the proven track record in their communities – it would speed up the process, given that they would not be starting from scratch.. The sites could probably transform into full-fledged casinos within a year.

If MGM and Genting get licenses, it would make competition for the remaining license fierce. However, this has not deterred casino interests from joining the race.with giants such as Sands, Wynn Resorts and Hard Rock among the parties that responded to a State Gaming Commission request for information issued late last year.


Resorts World New York City

But while many predicted the process would take its time, the delay could still surprise more than one. According to Pretlow, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Racing and Betting, it could even take yearsbased on what he heard from sources. This comes from the understanding that all three licenses must be assigned at the same time.

However, “that is not the intent of the legislation,” he said.according The central square. “This needs to be fixed and will be fixed.” Pretlow further added that the commission is under fire to produce the solicitation which will initiate the process of identifying awards. However, he thinks the state shouldn’t necessarily award all three in the short term and delay awarding the final license when the state needs the funding.

Where casinos can go was also one of the issues discussed at Tuesday’s racing and gaming conference. Jeff Gural, a New York real estate developer who owns the Tioga Downs Casino Resort in Nichols, said he doubts a casino will be awarded in Manhattan.. This is due to opposition from restaurants and other attractions, which makes him think that any party willing to try this place is “just wasting their time”.

Given the likelihood of MGM and Genting securing two of the three licenses for their existing sites, Gural said he views Citi Field, the Queens home stadium of MLB’s New York Mets, as a likely candidate for the remaining award.. Team owner Steve Cohen has stepped up campaigning and lobbying efforts for the Willets Point area near the stadium to be considered a suitable location, which Yogonet has already reported.

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