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Big Bets in the Big Apple: State Governor Paves the Way for Three Casinos in New York City

Statue of Liberty Close UpBarely a week after mobile sports betting was legalised in the state, the Governor of New York has dropped the biggest hint yet that casino resorts WILL be allowed in NYC in the near future.

Governor Hochul has been busy preparing her budget proposal of the 2023 fiscal year, which gets underway in July 2022. And as part of her $216.3 billion plan, as many as three casino resorts could be built in New York City.

A previous order banning casino gaming in the state was lifted in 2013, and now there are currently four casinos in the surrounding suburbs of the city. However, these are found in out-of-town locations, such as Resorts World in Queens and the Empire City Casino in the Yonkers neighbourhood. Upstate, there are seven more casino properties that are operated by Native American tribes on land that they own.

Hochul is planning to award three new licenses later in 2022, and those would allow the operator to begin the process of finding land in the city to build upon – or in transforming an existing building into a working casino.

The budget director, Robert Mujica, said:

“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.”

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Originally, a prohibition was put in place that would prevent new casino action in NYC even being discussed until 2023 at the earliest. But Hochul has clear designs on accelerating the process, and has even intimated that successful licence applicants won’t have to pay a fine to upstate casino operators – that is the current state of play.

It’s news that has been met unsurprisingly positively by many stakeholders in the sector, while Senator Joseph Addabbo – the chair of the Racing and Wagering Committee – was looking forward to the tax revenue that would be generated.

“I believe the inclusion of expediting the three full casino licenses for our downstate region has the potential to bring in $1.5 billion in revenue for the state, additional educational funding and improvements to problem gambling programs,” the Senator confirmed.

Plans to build a new casino in Manhattan were shelved by the former Governor, Andrew Cuomo, prior to his resignation in 2021, but a lifting on the ban on mobile sports betting has been approved – since its launch on January 8, more than 1.2 million betting accounts have been registered by New Yorkers.

Speaking on the news, a statement from Resorts World read: Casino operator Resorts World said in a statement:

“Gaming in downstate New York is full of untapped potential and Gov. Hochul’s initiative to award additional casino licenses is a big 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. We’ll be able to generate significant additional revenue for public schools, and drive economic activity for local small businesses and the Queens community.”