The State Gaming Commission has announced that it will name members of a Board to evaluate casino license applications. The Board will have 90 days to solicit proposals from casino developers. To receive a license, proposals must be approved by two-thirds of local community advisory committees. These committees are formed to assess the level of support in a community for a casino proposal. Governor Kathy Hochul, mayor Eric Adams, borough president, and city council members will appoint the members of the board.
Applicants will need to pay at least $500 million for a casino license. While the total cost of the license is estimated at around $1 billion, a lower number of $500 million is more palatable. A casino will also have to pay taxes in New York. The US federal government levies a 24% tax on casino winnings, while the state taxes only 12%.
Lobbyists for the casinos have poured millions of dollars into politics, putting pressure on state officials to grant licenses to them. The casino industry has been lobbying for years, and Hochul has made numerous political donations. In August alone, Genting New York-Resorts World donated $25,000 to the Hochul campaign. It has spent millions lobbying the state’s legislature and the executive branch.
A casino license in New York City will cost at least $500 million. Developers will have 90 days to submit proposals. The licenses will be awarded for an initial 10-year period and renewed at the state regulator’s discretion. There are several casino brands interested in a casino license in New York, including Shinnecock Tribe and MGM.
Another potential applicant is the Hard Rock Casino. The Hard Rock group has been in talks with the city to build a casino near Citi Field. Related Cos. and Thor Equities have also expressed interest. The process is expected to begin in October. A New York casino license would be a big step in enhancing the casino industry in the city.
The government intends to award three casino licenses in the state. While the moratorium on downstate casino development doesn’t expire until 2023, legislation tied to the budget could open the door to license applications this year. The state received more than 30 responses to its RFI. Several major companies are in the running for two licenses in New York, including MGM and Genting.
The state has said that the three licenses will cost about $500 million each, with the first two bringing in more than $1 billion in initial fees to the state. A third license could be awarded in the future, but there are many obstacles to overcome. The political climate makes it unlikely that the final license will be granted until later in the process.
A New York casino license will give developers access to New York’s 20 million population and tens of millions of visitors every year. Additionally, a New York casino will allow operators to capture gambling revenue generated by other casinos in the area, such as casinos in New Jersey’s Atlantic City and Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun.