Bill amendment

New York three downstate casinos' tax rate will be set through bidding process; new details now revealed

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The tax rate for New York’s upcoming three downstate casinos will be determined via a bidding process, according to budget legislation introduced by the state government. Senate Bill 8009, amended Tuesday, explains the New York State Gaming Commission will determine taxation on GGR for license holders following competitive bidding.

“For a gaming facility licensed pursuant, there is hereby imposed a tax on gross gaming revenues with the rates to be determined by the gaming commission pursuant to a  competitive bidding process,” the legislation states. The New York State Gaming Facility Location Board will help the NYSGC oversee the application process.

In determining whether an applicant is eligible for a license, SB 8009 states evaluation will take into account a series of factors into account. These include realizing maximum capital investment exclusive of land acquisition and infrastructure improvements; maximizing revenues received by the state and localities; and providing the highest number of quality jobs.

Applicants are also expected to propose a facility of the highest caliber with a variety of quality amenities; offering the best value to patrons to create a robust gaming market in the region and the state; providing a detailed market analysis detailing the benefits of the proposed venue; and demonstrating an ability to finance, develop and operate the business, among other factors.

Moreover, companies seeking to secure one of the three licenses should “carefully consider” local views and consult with appropriate local governments. The bidding process will also take into account operations in partnership with local hotels, restaurants, and retail facilities to improve the regional tourism industry.

The board is set to establish a minimum capital investment for each gaming facility license, which may include, but not be limited to, a casino area, hotel and other amenities. Each applicant shall submit its proposed capital investment with its application to the board, including stages of construction of the gaming facility and the deadline by which the stages and overall construction will be completed.

February 28, 2023, is set as the expiration date for the seven-year restricted period enforced from when the initial upstate casino license was awarded. Downstate licenses may be issued from this date, and license fees will be determined within 30 days of issuance.

MGM Empire City in New York

The gambling licenses will last for a 10-year period, with renewal at the discretion of the state’s Gaming Commission. Licensees must launch operations no longer than 24 months from the moment of issuance.

A prohibition was placed on additional three downstate casinos until 2023. A decision to speed up the bidding process for this year was announced last month in the state budget. The plan could potentially bring in $1.5 billion in revenue for the state.

Both the MGM Empire City slots parlor at Yonkers raceway and Genting’s Resorts World at Aqueduct race track in Queens are set to apply for a full casino license to expand their current offerings with live card table games. The venues have received public support for this effort from senators and the communities in which they are operating.