Casino Gambling in the Cards for New York City via Gov. Hochul’s $216.3bn Budget Proposal

  • Gov. Hochul’s budget allows the NY gaming body to issue RFAs for three new casinos
  • Budget director Robert Mujica said the RFAs will likely focus on the downstate region
  • Resorts World is eyeing one of the casino licenses, labeling itself “uniquely positioned”
  • New York mobile betting is up and running, with handle of $150m over its debut weekend
NY Governor Kathy Hochul
In her maiden $216.3bn budget proposal as NY Governor, Kathy Hochul has included plans for three new casinos, which are likely to be sited in the downstate area. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Fresh budget proposal

A new record-smashing $216.3bn budget proposal from New York Governor Kathy Hochul includes a plan to bring legal casino gambling to downstate New York.

Gov. Hochul’s Executive Budget, unveiled Tuesday, allows the NY Gaming Facility Location Board to issue a Request for Applications (RFA) to open three new casinos, likely to be sited downstate.

On Twitter this Tuesday, gaming law and sports betting attorney Daniel Wallach said the budget plan would “accelerate by one year the siting of NYC casinos:”

Budget director Robert Mujica said that while there is no explicit specification that NY City will host the casinos, it is likely the RFAs will focus on the downstate region. Mujica added that there “will be a competition” for the three new licenses.

raise anywhere from $1bn to $2bn in revenues”

According to the New York Post, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, chairman of the Standing Committee on Racing and Wagering, has backed Hochul’s plan. “We can issue licenses this year and raise anywhere from $1bn to $2bn in revenues,” he commented. “There will be more jobs and income tax revenues. It’s a win-win-win.”

Senator and operator approval

Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr concurred with Pretlow in a statement, adding that expediting the three full licenses has the potential to bring in “additional educational funding and improvements to problem gambling programs.”

New York State’s four commercially licensed casinos currently operate in the Capital Region, Hudson Valley, Southern Tier, and the Finger Lakes region. Despite the oversaturation of casinos in the Northeast corridor in recent years, lawmakers believe casino licenses for NY City or the surrounding area would create much-needed revenue for the state.

Casino operator Resorts World has attested to downstate New York’s untapped gaming potential, labeling Hochul’s plan a significant move toward “showcasing the state’s enormous promise.” The operator is eyeing one of the full casino licenses, describing itself as “uniquely positioned” in the race to open an NYC casino.

drive economic activity for local small businesses and the Queens community.”

Resorts World already has a casino footprint in New York State in the Catskills and at Aqueduct Racetrack. In a statement, the company asserted that from “day one, we’ll be able to hire and train hundreds of new union members, generate significant additional revenue for public schools, and drive economic activity for local small businesses and the Queens community.”

NY betting boom

Due to its large population, New York has long been one of the most desired areas for US-based gaming operators. January 8 marked the launch date for four of the state’s nine approved online sportsbooks — Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Rush Street — as New York became the most populous US jurisdiction to offer mobile sports betting.

According to Canadian-based geological technology firm GeoComply, the first ten days of online sports betting saw 1.2 million accounts created, with 878,000 unique players. GeoComply took to Twitter on Tuesday with news that New York generated 17.9 million geolocation transactions during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

GeoComply’s managing director of gaming Lindsay Slater said that the “vast majority of users were brand new to regulated sports betting in the US.” She added that the numbers go to show that “New Yorkers are dumping illegal sportsbooks for the new legal options and operators are excelling at attracting first-time bettors.”

According to Hochul’s budget proposal, New York took in $150m in online sports betting handle over its opening weekend.