Hochul Backs Measure to Fast-Track NYC Casino Process

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New York Governor Hochul is looking to speed up the licensing process for three potential NYC casinos. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Budget deadline approaches

New York Governor Kathy Hochul is considering fast-tracking the approval of three New York City (NYC) casinos. The discussions among New York lawmakers are part of ongoing state budget negotiations.

The idea of allowing casinos in NYC has sent property developers and casino companies into a frenzy due to the significant opportunities the licenses would present. Hochul and other proponents also believe it would prove very lucrative for the state’s finances.

pushing for a license fee of at least $1bn

As reported by the New York Times, Gov. Hochul wants to greenlight a provision as part of the state budget that would speed up the licensing process. Senate Democrats are in favor of this approach and are pushing for a license fee of at least $1bn. The final budget is due on Friday.

House Democrats have historically opposed gambling. They did not include a proposal to accelerate the casino licensing as part of their initial budget proposal. However, they are reportedly considering the matter.

A big push for NYC casinos

As part of a lobbying campaign, seven casino companies are currently spending about $300,000 each month to try speed up the issuing of casino licenses. The New York Times reports that these companies want to have a say in the potential casino locations, as well as secure licenses to operate one of the properties.

Those in favor of allowing a further three casino licenses in the state claim that New York loses out on significant revenue from residents visiting casinos in nearby states. Lawmakers used the same argument when pushing through the state’s new online sports betting market, which has proved a huge success to date.

As per the current timeline, New York officials will not hand out casino licenses until next year.

Hotel worker unions are also strongly in favor of NYC casinos, believing they would create jobs for thousands made redundant from the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the 37,000 hotel workers who lost their jobs during the crisis, almost 10,000 are still reportedly unemployed.

Many interested parties

Many lobbyists and lawmakers believe that two of the three licenses could go to Genting Group and MGM Resorts International. These companies currently operate racinos in Queens and Yonkers. It would not take long for these facilities to transform into full-scale casinos, quickly creating new jobs and tax revenue.

Many major casino companies would then battle it out for the third and final license. Companies that appear to be interested include Las Vegas Sands, Bally’s Corporation, and Hard Rock International.

a Monaco-style casino for big spenders

One current proposal would see a Monaco-style casino for big spenders developed on top of Saks Fifth Avenue, which lies in Midtown Manhattan. However, getting approval for a casino in Manhattan could prove tricky due to local opposition.