Downstate Casino Licenses’ “Conceptual Agreement” Is a Major Topic in New York’s Budget Discussions

The first week of the New York budget negotiations was overtime. But it seems the talks are now headed to double-overtime. Still, the next extra period might be shorter than the first one.

New York gamblers are excited by the new proposal to increase the downstate land-based commercial casino's timeline. But it hasn't been made official yet. Even so, there is near-certainty due to the exclusion of several likely gaming measures.

The New York Budget Is Almost Being Reconciled

The law requires the state to complete its budget for the next fiscal year by April 1. But it didn't happen in 2022. By Friday afternoon, its legislature hadn't voted on a final proposal.

Governor Kathy Hochul can only sign off once this happens. But a vote can be a formality now.

Mike Mazzeo from PlayNY claims that Gary Pretlow, a state Assemblyman informed him that they are almost through. Dan Clark from New York Now says that Hochul stated that there is a "conceptual agreement." Governor Hochul would like to see three extra licenses.

Casino Licenses Are In the State's Budget Bill

Clark reports that Hochul's and the state's two legislative chambers' three original proposals have been reduced to two bills. Once covers the Education, Family Assistance, and Labor section of the budget.

Its provisions are linked to the downstate commercial casinos' three licenses. New York amended its constitution in 2013 and provided seven commercial casino gaming licenses. Three of them are earmarked for its downstate portion.

The legislation created an order in which the state would award the licenses, starting with four upstate licenses. But it restricted it from awarding downstate licenses before 2023.

The current budget bill wants to reduce this timeline and allow the New York State Gaming Commission to grant a license application request once it is ready. Moreover, the proposal will set a floor for several structural parameters and the bidding process.

Which Gaming Firms Are Likely to Get New York Casino Licenses?

Determining bidders that will get gaming licenses in the state doesn't solely depend on how much money one has committed. The current bill will set such bids' floor to be $500 million.

Instead, other matters, such as a candidate's ability to use the license soon, are vital. So, two existing facilities in the state appear to be the top contenders for the licenses.

Resorts World NYC in Jamaica (Queens) and MGM Empire City in Yonkers provide video gaming terminal play. They currently have Class II licenses. Their location, marketing speed, and suitability make them favorites for Class III licenses.

Who Might Get the Remaining License?

The other license might go to a firm that is based in another state. Yet, some parties with another presence in the state have also expressed interest in acquiring the gaming license.

These include Bally's, Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands Co., and Hard Rock. Bally's is a contractor with New York for iGaming, while Hard Rock operates the New York City hotel.

Universal Entertainment, a Japanese entertainment firm, wants to build a gaming site in Manhattan. Citi Field in Queens and Belmont Park in Long Island are the leading potential sites for the new casinos.


A sports enthusiast, Ryan helps cover sports betting news from around the country, highlighting some of the more interesting events going on in the USA.