On Thursday, June 27, the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board (PDF) announced its decision to extend the bid submission deadline for three downstate casinos to June 27, 2025. This decision comes even as a bill proposing an August 31, 2024 deadline awaits Governor Kathy Hochul‘s signature.

Under current New York law, three downstate casinos can be established in commercial locations within and around New York City. Presently, 11 entities are vying to place their casinos in areas ranging from Times Square to Brooklyn. These bidders are proposing casinos and offering additional amenities such as resorts, housing units, and neighborhood enhancements to garner support.

Senator Joe Addabbo’s bill (S9673A), passed through both the House and Senate in early June, has yet to receive Governor Hochul’s endorsement. Should it be signed into law, the bill would necessitate bidders to submit their proposals by the end of summer. However, members of the Facility Location Board believe this timeline is impractical. They indicated that an earlier submission deadline is unlikely to affect the objective of granting licenses by the end of 2025.

Board Rejects August 2024 Deadline

During Thursday’s meeting, board members openly recognized the conflict with S9673A. The board considers the current deadline unfeasible because bids cannot be evaluated until all necessary “entitlements and zoning” are approved.

Vicki Been, chair of the board, remarked on the extension of the downstate casino bid deadline, stating, “The hope would be that our reasoning will be helpful to the governor.” This statement suggests that while politicians might desire a quicker deadline, the board deems such a timeline impractical.

Prospective bidders must secure zoning changes and complete environmental impact studies before their bids can be reviewed. For instance, proposals like Bally’s Bronx and Steve Cohen’s Queens require rezoning sites currently designated as parkland. Both parties have advocated for these changes with local and state boards, but no reclassifications have yet been finalized.

Board member Stuart Rabinowitz acknowledged that if Governor Hochul signs the bill into law, the new legislation would override the board’s decision.

Eleven Casino Proposals in Consideration

Currently, the list of proposals for the downstate casino licenses includes both commercial and tribal operators. The proposed projects and their respective developers and operators are as follows:

  • Avenir, Developer: Silverstein Properties; Casino Operator: Greenwood Gaming; Location: Manhattan
  • Bally’s Links at Ferry Point, Developer and Casino Operator: Bally’s Corporation; Location: The Bronx
  • Caesars Palace Times Square, Developers: Caesars Entertainment, SL Green, Roc Nation; Casino Operator: Caesars Entertainment; Location: Manhattan
  • The Coney, Developers: Thor Equities, Legends Entertainment, the Chickasaw Nation, Saratoga Casino Holdings; Casino Operator: Saratoga Casino Holdings; Location: Brooklyn
  • Freedom Plaza, Developer: Soloviev Group; Casino Operator: Mohegan Gaming; Location: Manhattan
  • Metropolitan Park, Developer: Steven Cohen; Casino Operator: Hard Rock International; Location: Queens
  • MGM Empire City, Developer and Casino Operator: MGM Resorts International; Location: Yonkers
  • Resorts World New York City, Developer and Casino Operator: Genting Group; Location: Queens
  • Sands New York, Developer and Casino Operator: Las Vegas Sands; Location: Long Island, Nassau County
  • Saks Fifth Avenue, Developer: Hudson’s Bay Company; Casino Operator: to be determined; Location: Manhattan
  • Wynn New York City, Developers: Related Companies, Oxford Properties Group; Casino Operator: Wynn Resorts; Location: Manhattan

The deadline extension is seen as a move to ensure that all bidding entities have sufficient time to meet the necessary requirements and that the selection process is thorough and effective, aiming to serve the long-term interests of New York City and its surrounding areas.