The New York Gaming Facility Board last week officially released its request for applications for three downstate casinos in the New York City region. The board has set the license fee, due within 30 days of the award of the license, at a minimum of $500 million.
The reason why that figure is presented as a minimum is that the board is allowing applicants to propose a higher license fee with their applications, creating a type of back-door bidding war.
According to the board’s announcement, initial casino licenses will run from 10 years to 30 years, based on the investment of the winning bidder.
The category of “economic activity and business development factors” will account for 70 percent of the score of the proposals. That includes capital investment, “maximizing state and local revenues,” providing the most jobs and creating the “highest caliber” casino with an array of amenities.
Workforce development and diversity will account for a combined 20 percent of the overall score and local siting issues that include mitigating impacts on surrounding neighborhoods accounts for the remaining 10 percent.
Applicants also are required to obtain approvals from local governments on zoning and land use, as well as approval of a local community advisory committee, before any application is submitted. That factor will govern when the licenses are eventually rewarded, but according to a report in the New York Post, insiders expect the awards to be made by the end of 2023.
A consortium proposing a casino for Coney Island immediately released a statement saying it will submit a bid for one of the licenses. The group includes Thor Equities, Saratoga Casino Holdings, the Chickasaw Nation and Legends—the entertainment firm co-owned by the Yankees. The group has plugged its casino project as an economic boost for southern Brooklyn that will create permanent local jobs.
“For more than a generation, Coney Island has been waiting for a year-round economy that creates not just jobs, but careers,” said the statement from the Coney Island consortium. “Our partnership is unique, combining unrivaled gaming expertise, an unsurpassed track record in entertainment, and a commitment to serving the local community like no other. We look forward to submitting our bid and setting a new standard in economic revitalization and resiliency for New York.”
Real estate giant SL Green Realty Corporation and Caesars Entertainment are floating plans for a Times Square casino with strong feelings on both sides of that equation.
The owners of the existing slots parlors at the Resorts World New York at Aqueduct racetrack in Ozone Park, Queens, and MGM Resorts’ Empire City in Yonkers are expected to submit bids to expand their offerings to include table games. Most observers expect those two facilities to be granted licenses because they have already invested more than $1 billion in each.
Baseball’s New York Mets owner Steve Cohen is considering a casino project near the team’s Citi Field stadium in Queens, but he hasn’t indicated a casino partner.
Others floating bids include the Steve Ross-Related Companies/Wynn Resorts partnership for Hudson Yards in Manhattan adjacent to the Javits convention center, and Las Vegas Sands for an undetermined site on Long Island. Belmont Park racetrack and land near the former Nassau Coliseum are being considered, according to LVS.