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US – New York casino licence could be set at $1bn

By - 16 March 2022

The price of owning a New York casino licence has been pitched at $1bn by the state Senate’s budget, twice as much as previously anticipated.

The budget reads: “The New York State Gaming Commission’s siting board shall determine a licensing fee to be paid by a licensee within thirty days after the award of the license which shall be deposited into the commercial gaming revenue fund; provided however that such licensing fee shall be no less than one billion dollars per license.”

The budget proposal, outlines that the state Gaming Commission need to issue a request for applications by July 1, 2022, with a submission deadline of 60 days later.

Senator Joe Addabbo said: “We’re staring at roughly $2.5 to $3bn in revenue and educational funds and good jobs. We know the value of having a gaming license in New York, especially downstate. There’s an entity out there willing to pay $1bn upfront.”

The licenses would be awarded by December 1, 2022, with ten year licences being issued.

Both Genting’s Resorts World at Aqueduct race track in Queens and MGM Empire at Yonkers racetrack want to apply for a full casino license to expand their gaming floors with table games.

Speaking to PlayNY, Resorts World’s CMO Darlene Monzo said: “[A fully fledged New York casino] has been our vision for the last 10 years. Genting didn’t come to New York to have a place with slots. The vision was always that we have one of the largest slot floors in the country, 6,500 slots on the Queens property , and we have a full-service casino up at the Catskills. But the dream, the vision was to always have it in New York City, and we have such great support from the Queens area.

“I couldn’t think of a better place to be putting it. And with the governor’s initiative to award additional licenses, we truly want that. It’s important to us, it’s important to Queens, and it’s important to a lot of the hospitality workers that are out of work right now.

“We are two miles from JFK as a travel business. And not only what that would bring in America, it’s the Big Apple ,but the volume of international business that we could drive would be tremendous given our location. And we are ready. One thing I will say is speed to market, we have the facility. We have a third floor. It’s ready. And the minute that we would be granted a license, we could really have money directly to New York in the form of tax dollars faster than anyone.”

MGM Resorts International CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle, said: “We need to understand what the tax is going to be, what the licensing fee is going to be. It will determine a great deal, presuming we’re fortunate enough to win a license and ultimately go forward.”

“If we do it, I would say the way it was done in National Harbor, where you have an opportunity to create great jobs, a great environment, a great property because the tax ultimately and the fee is reasonable enough to allow us to do that, you’re looking at a spend somewhere in the $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion phase 1, give or take. We have 97 acres there. We go back and forth what kind of things we might want to put there. We could see quickly in the existing environment a couple of hundred tables.

Hornbuckle continued: “We currently have 5,500 slots, which is massive. And so we reduced that to a certain degree. And then we build it out over time, clearly a need for a structured garage. But there’s a much broader vision to be had longer term.”

As well as Resorts World and MGM Resorts, Bally’s, Las Vegas Sands, and UE Resorts including Okada Manila, have all lodged their interest a New York casino. The Senate budget also detailed plans to increase the number of mobile sports betting vendors to 16, almost double the number of current operators from nine. 

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