New York Gov. Hochul’s $216 billion state budget proposal is seeking to bring casino gambling to New York City. The record-breaking budget includes a plan to allow the state Gaming Facility Location Board to issue a Request for Applications to open up to three new gambling parlors in the city or surrounding suburbs, adding to the ones already operating upstate.
“We will issue an order to get bids in … there’ll be a board that makes a selection process for casinos across the state largely — the three will be probably focused in the downstate area, but there’s no restriction there,” Hochul Budget Director Robert Mujica said, according to New York Daily News.
The state currently has 11 upstate casinos. Seven of them are run by Native American tribes, while the other four commercial sites opened following a Constitution amendment, in 2013.
A prohibition was placed on additional three downstate casinos until 2023: Hochul’s plan would speed up the timeline by doing away with penalties downstate operators would have to pay to the upstate casino owners if they moved forward before the ban expires.
Mujica further claimed he expected plenty of competition for the new licenses, and considered it likely the focus of applications would be on the downstate area. The plan could potentially bring in $1.5 billion in revenue for the state, according to Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Queens), chairman of the Senate Racing and Wagering Committee, plus additional educational funding and improvements to problem gambling programs.
The news quickly found support among lawmakers and casino companies, many of them having lobbied the state for years to bring the additional venues to New York. Among these businesses is casino operator Resorts World, which said gaming in downstate New York is “full of untapped potential” and that Hochul’s initiative was an important step toward “showcasing the state’s enormous promise.”
“If granted a full casino license, we are uniquely positioned to immediately elevate our support for the state in a number of significant ways,” the company said in a statement, according to the New York Post. “On day one, we’ll be able to hire and train hundreds of new union members, generate significant additional revenue for public schools, and drive economic activity for local small businesses and the Queens community.”
The legislature must first agree to Hochul’s acceleration of the casino license timeline for the plan to move forward. Folding it into the budget allows for approval without the need of voting separately on casinos.
While no specific date has been given for the awarding of the three licenses, if the budget is passed by the state legislature, it would most likely come into effect after the April 1 deadline for the fiscal spending package.
“New York has the potential to generate thousands of new union jobs, hundreds of millions in new tax revenue for the state’s education budget, while taking back gaming tax revenue and jobs from neighboring states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, where many New Yorkers now routinely go to play,” praised the decision Soo Kim, chairperson of the board of the Bally's Corporation, according to AMNY.
The new push to fast-track casinos in the New York City metro area comes a week after mobile sports betting went online in the Empire State. The market, which launched to record-setting figures, is expected to bring in $249 million in revenue to the state this fiscal year, according to estimates by officials, in addition to $200 million collected in license fees.