New York Gaming Board Aiming To Extend Casino Bid Deadline To June 2025

Erik Gibbs

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The New York State Gaming Facility Location Board (GFLB) announced an extension for the submission of bids for three downstate casino licenses. The new deadline has been set for June 27, 2025, significantly later than the previously proposed date of Aug. 31 this year.

The GFLB also said it plans to make a decision by Dec. 1, 2025, and issue licenses by Dec. 31, 2025.

This new application deadline decision, which the GFLB confirmed on June 27, comes amid discussions over the feasibility and fairness of the original timeline. There are complex regulatory and zoning approvals required for such large-scale projects, as well as considerable opposition to the casino expansion efforts.

At the June 27 meeting, board members, including Chair Vicki Been, voiced their concerns about the practicality of the August 2024 deadline. They emphasized that a critical step — securing all necessary “entitlements and zoning” approvals — would have to be completed before any serious consideration of bids could begin. The group also argued that the August deadline simply wouldn’t provide enough time for everyone involved to navigate this stage effectively.

Been emphasized that the revised timeline would provide a more realistic framework for prospective bidders to complete these essential steps. She expressed optimism that Gov. Kathy Hochul would recognize the board’s reasoning and allow the June 2025 deadline to stand.

However, there’s no guarantee that will happen. Gov. Hochul could still sign a bill that would expedite the process, which would overrule the GFLB’s decision.

More time to lobby

The extension has been met with mixed reactions. On one hand, it allows potential bidders more time to navigate the complex landscape of regulatory and community requirements. On the other, it delays the anticipated economic and social benefits that the new casinos are expected to bring to the downstate region, including job creation, increased tourism, and potential funding for the MTA. However, Gov. Hochul has already said that she doesn’t fully support the idea of casino revenue paying for the MTA.

The extension of the bid deadline for New York’s downstate casino licenses also has a multifaceted impact on local communities. Primarily, it allows for a more comprehensive planning and approval process, ensuring that community interests are better represented and addressed.

The additional time enables bidders to engage with local stakeholders and conduct thorough environmental impact studies. This deliberate approach aims to mitigate potential negative consequences such as increased traffic, environmental concerns, and social issues that often accompany large-scale development projects.

Moreover, the extended deadline provides an opportunity for community leaders and residents to have a more significant voice in the decision-making process. It opens the door for public forums, consultations, and debates.

Everyone wants a piece of New York

Among the entities vying for a casino license — at least 11 and counting — are several high-profile companies, each bringing experience and vision to the table. Leading the pack is MGM Resorts, which already operates the Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway. MGM aims to transform this facility into a full-scale casino, leveraging its existing infrastructure and customer base.

Another prominent contender is Las Vegas Sands, which has proposed a multi-billion-dollar entertainment complex in Long Island. The project promises a combination of gaming facilities, luxury hotels, and entertainment venues. However, an interim plan would include everything but a casino.

Resorts World, a subsidiary of Genting Resorts that operates in New York, Las Vegas, and elsewhere, is also part of the group. It has said it would generate over $1 billion in annual tax revenue if it were to receive a license.

Additionally, Hard Rock International has expressed interest in developing a casino in partnership with SL Green Realty, one of New York City’s largest commercial landlords. Their proposed site in midtown Manhattan is strategically positioned to attract a high volume of visitors, given its proximity to major transportation hubs and tourist attractions.

Despite the competitive landscape, all potential bidders face the common challenge of securing the necessary local approvals. This includes gaining support from community boards, city councils, and state regulatory agencies.