Hochul Sticks to Guns in NYC Casino Debate Despite Political Opposition

  • Hochul was firmly opposed to delaying the NY casino license bidding process
  • A group of Manhattan political leaders are against casinos in downstate NY
  • Hochul said casinos would fill the employment void in New York City
  • The fight for licenses could soon begin, with Caesars and Wynn both interested
Gov. Hochul
In a gubernatorial election debate, New York Governor Kathy Hochul rejected the notion of suspending the license bidding process for three downstate casinos. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Gov. holds firm

In a gubernatorial debate against Republican challenger Congressman Lee Zeldin, New York Governor Kathy Huchel stuck to her guns regarding plans to bring three casinos to the downstate area.

full support for NY’s casino expansion

Hochul expressed her continued full support for NY’s casino expansion on Tuesday, despite a group of Manhattan political leaders urging her to suspend the casino bidding process. Sports betting writer Matt Rybaltowski shared Hochul’s response via Twitter:

A hot topic

The opposition group, which includes Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and New York State Sen. Liz Krueger, have fired off concerns over added traffic congestion and excessive noise. Despite their worries, Hochul was clear in her continued support of the casino plan, saying: “We have opportunities to create thousands of jobs.”

The governor believes that casinos can fill the employment void in the New York City hospitality industry left by the pandemic. She said:

We can give them jobs working in these places.”

Republican challenger in the gubernatorial debate Zeldin also weighed in on the issue. He deemed casino site selection critical during the process, adding that “local control is important.” He explained: “There is a process that is underway and it shouldn’t be jammed into areas that do not want it.”

The fight for licenses

Behind the political tussles, deals are being made as big-name gaming brands, real estate developers, and local racinos continue to refine their pitches in the hope they can secure one of three NY casino licenses.

Only last week, Caesars Entertainment made a surprise re-entry into the license fray after it unveiled plans for a Times Square casino project in cooperation with NY property developer SL Green. In September, Wynn Resorts and real estate developer Related Companies teamed up to bid for a new Vegas-Style casino in Midtown Manhattan.

Two proposed sites, the Genting Group’s Resorts World New York City and MGM’s Empire City Yonkers, are frontrunners in the licensing race because they have existing infrastructure downstate.

As the race nears the final straight, the New York State Gaming Commission appointed three members to the New York Gaming Facility Location Board earlier this month. This board has a January 6 deadline to issue a Request for Applications for those interested in bidding for a license.