Competition Heats Up For New York Casino Licenses

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Competition Heats Up For New York Casino Licenses
© USA Today

A prominent New York real estate developer has joined the list of those seeking a license to operate a commercial casino in downstate New York.

Larry Silverstein, chairman of Silverstein Properties, is seeking to build a casino in Manhattan about four blocks west of Times Square at 11th Avenue and 41st Street, according to the New York Times.

The 1.8-million-square-foot project would provide much-needed tax revenue for the city’s transit system, said the 92-year-old developer, who has never owned or invested in a casino.

Silverstein plans to name the project the Avenir, French for “future.” It would include a hotel, a performance hall and residential living. 

Silverstein has partnered with London-based Watche Manoukian, who owns Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pa.

Las Vegas Companies, Others Seeking Licenses

In total, about 10 groups, including Silverstein’s, are expected to seek licensing, according to the Times. The following already are under consideration:

  • Caesars Entertainment and SL Green Realty Corp., proposing  to build a casino in Times Square
  • Wynn Resorts and the Related Companies, proposing to build a casino on Manhattan’s Far West Side near the Javits Center 
  • New York Mets owner Steven A. Cohen and the Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock brand, proposing to build a casino near Citi Field in Flushing, Queens, where the National League East team plays home games
  • Las Vegas Sands, proposing to build a casino in Nassau County.

Source: New York Times, New York Post

Two Racinos Could Have Inside Track

The three-member New York Gaming Facility Board is tasked with selecting three downstate casino applicants for the New York State Gaming Commission’s consideration. The licensing process is expected to be completed late this year or sometime in 2024.

The downstate region includes New York City, Long Island and Westchester County.

Four commercial casinos already are operating in upstate New York. Currently, sports betting also is legal across the state on mobile apps and in person at casinos.

Two racinos in the downstate area are considered frontrunners for two of the three new licenses. Racinos are slots-only casinos at race tracks.

The two downstate racinos are Resorts World New York City at the Aqueduct horse track in Queens and the Empire City harness track in Yonkers, an MGM Resort’s property. 

These racinos have slot-style video lottery terminal games but cannot offer casino table games such as craps, roulette and blackjack. 

Once approved, the three new downstate casinos would be allowed to provide Las Vegas-style table games in addition to slots. 

One reason Resorts World and Empire City are considered frontrunners is that those two casinos would be able to add table games more quickly than a resort that would have to be constructed from the ground up.

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo previously told he wants the licensing approval process to be completed soon so workers can begin drawing paychecks and the state can start benefiting from the tax revenue.

“Let’s get the benefits rolling,” said Addabbo, D-Queens, said earlier this year.

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Larry Henry

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