Possible Further Delays in Licensing for Downstate New York Casinos

Quick Intro

The anticipated awarding of three new casino licenses in downstate New York is facing potential delays, possibly extending much longer than initially forecasted. While the industry had initially speculated that the bidding for these licenses might commence this month, various outstanding procedures indicate that this launch is unlikely within the first quarter of the year.

Insights from Recent Industry Reports

A recent Newsday report, drawing on industry insiders’ views, indicates that the process of awarding these downstate licenses could be pushed to the first quarter of 2025. This delay would mean a significant extension beyond the originally expected timeframe.

The current focus is on the Gaming Facility Location Board’s forthcoming responses to queries from interested casino bidders. The first set of these questions was released in August, with the second round of submissions beginning in October. The awaited responses from the Board will kickstart a 30-day response period for casino operators to finalize their bids.

In addition to this, prospective casino licensees are navigating challenges related to zoning issues. A proposal introduced last year by New York Mayor Eric Adams, aimed at streamlining the casino approval process, faced resistance from Community Boards in recent months.

Implications of Delayed Licensing on the State Budget

The conjectured delay in licensing is not entirely unexpected, particularly as the licensing fees for these casinos were not included in the fiscal year 2024-2025 budget. This budget outlines the state’s revenue plans up to March 31, 2025.

This potential delay could result in New York forfeiting substantial revenue, especially since each casino license is estimated to bring in around $500 million. The expedited licensing could have added approximately $1.5 billion to the state’s coffers.

Moreover, the FY 2025 Budget, presented by Governor Kathy Hochul, also contains disappointing news for the online casino sector. Despite ongoing efforts to legalize iGaming, the $233 billion budget excludes provisions related to this industry. Lawmakers suggest that this omission could hinder the legalization of online gambling activities for the current year.

The Broader Impact on New York’s Gambling Landscape

The extended timeline for the awarding of downstate casino licenses reflects a broader narrative in New York’s gambling sector. These developments, alongside the stalled progress in online casino legalization, indicate a cautious approach from the state in expanding its gambling offerings. The implications of these delays and omissions extend beyond the fiscal impacts, potentially influencing the strategic decisions of stakeholders and the future direction of gambling activities within New York. As the state navigates these complexities, the eventual outcomes will likely shape the gambling landscape for years to come.