New York Legislature Passes Casino Timeline Bill, Awaits Governor’s Signature

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Edward Scimia

Updated by Edward Scimia

Journalist

Last Updated 12th Jun 2024, 09:33 AM

New York Legislature Passes Casino Timeline Bill, Awaits Governor’s Signature

The New York State Assembly moved quickly on a bill that fast-track casino licensing on Tuesday. (Image: Hans Pennink/Associated Press)

In one of the final actions of their 2024 legislative sessions, both houses of the New York Legislature passed a bill on Tuesday that sets a firm timeline for the casino licensing process in the state. 

State Sen. Joe Addabbo (D-Queens) introduced Senate Bill S9673, which passed the Senate on Friday, June 7, by a 51-4 vote. The New York Assembly quickly followed by passing the bill by a 51-9 margin. 

Bill Still Needs Gov. Hochul’s Signature

Both chambers passed the bill while still in session a day after they were originally scheduled to adjourn on June 6. The bill now requires only the signature of New York Governor Kathy Hochul to be passed into law.

She is expected to sign the bill. In March, Hochul signed into law the downstate casino bill sponsored by Addabbo and Pretlow.

Under the accelerated timeline bill as passed, all bidders vying for the three downstate casino licenses must get their applications in by Aug. 31, 2024 – less than three months from now. The New York Gaming Facility Location Board is required to make recommendations on which bidders should receive those licenses by Dec. 31, 2025, and the New York State Gaming Commission must award the licenses by March 31, 2026. 

Sen. Addabbo has pushed for advancing the casino process as quickly as possible, saying that New York is losing out on revenue by deliberating over which proposals will ultimately earn the licenses. The state would immediately receive at least $500 million in fees from each winning bidder upon receipt of the license, though the competitive process – in which bidders can offer terms for both tax rates and licensing payments – could bring those numbers even higher.

“We could end up getting $2.5 billion to $3 billion just from the casino licenses,” Addabbo said, via the New York Post.

Pretlow: Casino Revenue Could Solve MTA Financing Woes

Other legislators who have pushed for expediting the casino process have offered similar sentiments. In particular, state Assemblyman Gary Pretlow (D-Mount Vernon), the co-chairman of the Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee, says that revenue from casinos could help the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The MTA is scrambling for funds after Gov. Hochul halted a plan to charge congestion tolls in Midtown Manhattan, which were expected to generate $1 billion per year.

According to Pretlow, that move makes it even more imperative that Gov. Hochul sign the licensing bill as soon as possible.

“We have to bring the casino deals to fruition – the MTA needs the money,” Pretlow said, via the New York Post. “The governor could open the bidding process right now, and that could help the MTA.”

If the accelerated timeline is put into place, some potential contenders might find it difficult to make a convincing case that they deserve a license.

For instance, Steve Cohen’s Metropolitan Park project, which would be based in the parking lots adjacent to Citi Field, still has to overcome parkland alienation issues – and lacks the support of a key local lawmakerwae. A proposed casino at Bally Links in the Bronx could face similar land use problems.

Meanwhile, a faster timeline could give a leg up to projects that have no need to be “shovel ready,” as they require only the expansion of existing facilities. Those include Empire City in Yonkers as well as Resorts World New York City, which is located in Addabbo’s district. 

Meet The Author

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Edward Scimia
Edward Scimia
Journalist Journalist

Ed Scimia is a freelance writer who has been covering the gaming industry since 2008. He graduated from Syracuse University in 2003 with degrees in Magazine Journalism and Political Science. In his time as a freelancer, Ed has worked for About.com, Gambling.com, and Covers.com, among other sites. He has also authored multiple books and enjoys curling competitively, which has led to him creating curling-related content for his YouTube channel "Chess on Ice."

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