Casino Bidders Get Answers from New York Regulators

New York Provides Answers to Initial Batch of Downstate Casino Inquiries

The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) and Gaming Facility Location Board (GFLB) have released a comprehensive 103-page document that answers hundreds of questions submitted earlier this year by entities vying for one of three downstate casino licenses. The Q&A document includes responses to various topics, such as applicant formatting, background investigations, capital investments, formation of community advisory committees, and more.

The regulatory agencies have also stated that they will notify applicants of any errors in their submissions and inform them on a rolling basis as deficiencies are discovered and determinations are made. The NYSGC has not yet set a deadline for responding to the second round of applicant queries due by October 6.

Eleven companies, including some of the biggest in the gaming industry, are competing for three New York City-area casino permits. The document provides critical information for applicants waiting months for the state to publish answers to the first round of questions. The answers will help shape the proposals that the applicants will submit.

The release of the Q&A document is a significant step forward in the downstate casino licensing process. It provides clarity and transparency to the applicants and helps move the licensing process forward.

No Secrets About New York Casino Plans

The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) has clarified that casino license applications, supplements, and associated materials will be treated as public records by the state’s Freedom of Information Law. This means license contenders hoping to keep their plans secret will be disappointed.

Despite this, most bidding operators have already been open about their intentions. For example, Caesars Entertainment and real estate partner SL Green have openly discussed some plans related to their Times Square proposal. In contrast, Las Vegas Sands has discussed some elements of its Long Island bid. Other big names competing for the permits include Bally’s, Hard Rock International, and Wynn Resorts.

Although the Q&A document did not mention it, there is intense speculation that two of the three licenses are already spoken for by Resorts World New York in Queens and MGM Resorts International’s Empire City Casino in Yonkers. The licensing fees for these casinos are expected to be high, and the capital investments for construction and entertainment will also be significant. The new casinos are expected to bring more tourism and hospitality opportunities to the state.

Still Short on Important New York Casino Details

Despite the initial batch of responses from New York regulators, important details still have yet to be addressed. The answers took about six months to be produced, and the Gaming Commission has not announced when it will publish responses to the second round of inquiries. The initial answers were also short on details, including policy about community advisory committees (CACs). The GFLB acknowledged related guidance hasn’t been set as of yet and gave no timetable for doing so. For operators, it’s important to nail down CAC protocols because zoning and CAC approvals are needed before the GFLB evaluates proposed downstate casino sites.

New York regulators must speed up the process because the winners of the three casino permits will each be required to pay $500 million upfront, resulting in $1.5 billion for state coffers. That doesn’t include the minimum of $500 million to be directed to the projects themselves. Nor does it have the receipts generated by temporary construction jobs and permanent roles at the venues.

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