New York City Casino Plans Dashed Due to Lack of Lawmaker Support

An effort to bring a Las Vegas-style casino to New York City is over after lawmakers showed little interest in the project. Bally’s Corporation, Wynn Resorts, and Las Vegas Sands were all interested in opening a large casino in the Big Apple, but the open appears to be on hold.

What’s the Hold Up?

New York State can create casinos in the lower portion of the state, in cities like New York, based on legislation that was passed a few years ago. However, the law states that such casinos cannot come to fruition until 2023. This year, efforts have been made to push the yearly restriction up to 2021, so that the state can bring in much-needed funds.

However, the change was pushed back by several lawmakers. Richard Gottfried, an Assemblyman in Manhattan, is strongly opposed to the idea of a casino in Manhattan. He feels such a move would be detrimental to the commercial and residential quality of the area.

Legislators have been working hard for several months to try and get around the objections of Manhattan lawmakers. Some even went so far as to create a bill that would give local officials the right to decide on casino licensing proposals.

However, Governor Cuomo was not happy with giving the lawmakers of the borough that much power. The measure was unable to pass. It got close but fell apart in the early hours of budget deal discussions. The governor felt that providing the exception would open a door for special requests during the negotiation process regarding the budget.

A Good Try

The effort to push up the new casinos in the state has been ongoing for quite some time. The most recent effort took place in May when the budget had already been passed. However, this try failed and the campaign is now at a standstill.

The legislation was passed back in 2013 that allowed seven total casinos in the state. Four upstate casinos were provided licensing first and then the downstate venues could get started by 2023. With the onset of the pandemic and economic decline in the state, many lawmakers felt that allowing the casinos to be created now would bring in new jobs as well as around $1.5 billion in licensing fees.

While there are three licenses up for grabs downstate, only one would go to a new venue. It is expected that the Empire City Casino in Yonkers and the Resorts World Aqueduct would be given two of the available licensing.

The third license would be up for grabs and be provided to the best proposal. Big companies like Bally’s and Wynn Resorts want in so they can try to capture the new market. With the failure of the recent effort, casino stakeholders and supportive lawmakers can only hope the effort will be revived and that casino licensing will be provided before the 2023 deadline.

It seems it is going to take some work to get more lawmakers on board before any legislation would be approved. We shall see in the coming months if there is a renewed effort regarding the casino push.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.