New York City Ready to Add Three Casinos in Prime Locations

  • NYC Mayor Eric Adams wants at least two of the licenses to go to the city
  • Developers and casino companies have confirmed interest in build projects
  • Hard Rock recently donated $119,000 to state Governor Kathy Hochul
  • Any plans would need to be met with community approval 
Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline
New York City is looking to expand its gambling reach by offering three new casino licenses. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Battling for licenses

New York City gaming operators are preparing to compete for casino rights in Times Square and Hudson Yards, according to the New York Post.

gaming commission is prepared to offer three licenses in the downstate area

The state’s gaming commission is prepared to offer three licenses in the downstate area; Big Apple mayor Eric Adams wants at least two of them to be granted to the city. 

Other possible sites include Willets Point near the New York Mets’ Citi Field in Queens and Coney Island in Brooklyn.

Locations around New York City

The competition for licenses has drawn a high amount of interest. According to the Post, real-estate enterprises Related Companies, Vornado, and SL Green would like to partner with casino giants such as Hard Rock, Sands, and Wynn.

According to the Post’s sources, Governor Adams has already heard from representatives of several casinos and developers. 

A spokesperson for Related Companies, which developed the new upscale neighborhood Hudson Yards in the city, confirmed that they are monitoring the situation.   

“We’re exploring our options,” Related spokesman Jon Weinstein told the Post on Sunday. 

Hudson Yards has the space to house a gaming facility as well as transportation infrastructure due to its proximity to the nearby No. 7 and Penn rail stations. 

John Catsimatidis, a developer of Coney Island waterfront residences on Ocean Drive, also showed interest in opening a casino.

A casino would be a wonderful thing for Coney Island and Brooklyn.”

“A casino would be a wonderful thing for Coney Island and Brooklyn,” Catsimatidis said Sunday. “A Coney Island casino would bring a lot of vigor to Brooklyn.”

Hard Rock has also shown signs of life in the new casino window. The company recently donated $119,000 to the state Democratic Party, led by Governor Kathy Hochul, and has pledged six figures in support for her reelection campaign, according to Board of Elections filings.

Furthermore, Hard Rock, as well as Sands CEO Rob Goldstein, has informed City Hall Chief of Staff Frank Carone of its interest in opening a casino. Hard Rock specifically already held conversations with Mets owner Steve Cohen about a property in Willets Point.

The companies will also have to get past two established slot shops at racetracks to earn their license. Both Resorts World Casino in Queens and Empire City Casino at Yonkers will apply, and if granted licenses, that will leave just one opening.

Gauging public interest

New York has quickly become one of the United States’ biggest gambling markets since its first sportsbook opened in 2019. Sports betting, both online and retail, has been a massive success in its first year of operation.

Despite the success, opening a new casino will not be an easy task. Per state mandates, gambling expansion will need to be met with resounding community approval. Developers would need four votes from a panel of six on an advisory board for the targeted area.

The build would also need to pass the land-use review as per the City Council, assuming that it is not on state-owned land. These different processes allow locals and policymakers to wield power during negotiations. 

Major building projects in New York have not always been met with ringing approval. Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg unsuccessfully attempted to lead the construction of an Olympic Stadium, as well as a Westway highway. 

Outside forces want a casino. Insiders who live here don’t want a casino.”

“I strongly oppose a Manhattan casino in concept,” State Senator Brad Hoylman, a representative of the Hudson Yards and Times Square neighborhoods, told the Post on Sunday. “I don’t know one constituent who wants a casino. Outside forces want a casino. Insiders who live here don’t want a casino.”

Despite the dwindling importance of land-based casinos in the digital age, the state stands to gain from the new openings. Each license would ring a cool minimum of $500m, or at least $1.5bn in total.

Tax rates will be a minimum of 25% and 10% for slot and table game revenue, respectively. The gaming commission will select members for a review board by October 4, at which time they will grant a 90-day window for bids.