Citywide zoning change citied for delay

New York: Gaming Commission could delay casino license issuance until late 2025 amid regulatory hurdles

Reading time 1:22 min

The New York State Gaming Commission has added another layer of uncertainty to the competitive race for three downstate casino licenses, announcing that it could delay issuing any permits or accepting applications until at least late 2025.

The commission's Executive Director, Robert Williams, cited the need for a citywide zoning change approval, expected in the coming weeks, and other regulatory hurdles as reasons for the delay, LI Herald reported.

These include state environmental reviews and various zoning and land reviews required at both state and city levels throughout 2024. The extended timeline could benefit applicants navigating these complex regulatory processes.

Commission Chairman Brian O’Dwyer

“It’s important the Gaming Facility Location Board get the maximum number of applicants. And if we’re talking about, it’s been so long now. If we’re talking about another five or six months and potentially disqualifying reasonable, serious applicants, I think it’s worth taking that time to do it,” Commission Chairman Brian O’Dwyer was quoted as saying to Spectrum News.

“The Board is cognizant of the many factors relating to the zoning requirement, including New York City’s proposed text amendment relating to gaming facilities and of the many zoning-related questions posed by applicants during the first two rounds of questions. The updated timeline, expected to be finalized soon, will consider these and other factors,” the commission officials said in a statement, as per the report. 

The change will require approval from the Gaming Facility Location Board, a subsidiary of the commission tasked with making final decisions on these licenses.

Despite legislation passed by the State Legislature in 2022 aimed at expediting the licensing process, the bidding war has yet to begin as anticipated. The applicants include proposals for a casino on Coney Island, a potential project at the Bally’s golf course in the Bronx, a casino near CitiField backed by Mets owner Steve Cohen, and another potential development in Hudson Yards by Related Companies and Wynn, among others.

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