New York casino licence to cost ‘at least’ $1bn

New York would apply minimum licensing fees of “at least” $1bn each for those seeking approval to operate a downstate casino, according to a 2022/23 state budget proposal.

The Senate has modified proposals to authorise the issuance of additional casino licenses by limiting the number of facilities per zone, as well as specifying  parameters for application scoring, including a diversity category that it says has been done to “ensure that jobs and casino ownership are reflective of New York’s diverse workforce”.

This comes after the New York Gaming Commission issued a request for information in October 2021, that was charged with gauging interest from operator’s in developing and/or operating one of three casinos in the city region.

This was intended to inform the Commission for the purposes of determining the appropriate size and scope of development, value of the gaming facility license, and process that should be used in award consideration.

Under state law, the regulator can pursue the development of three downstate casinos in New York after a prior policy of former Governor Andrew Cuomo pushed the addition of upstate gaming venues in a bid to create jobs, as well as reduce unemployment in disadvantaged areas.

Interested parties are said to include Resorts World, MGM Resorts, Bally’s, Las Vegas Sands, and UE Resorts, which was created following a merger of Miami-based SPAC 26 Capital Acquisition and Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, operating as Okada Manila.

Furthermore, the Senate also states that it has advanced a proposal “to permit additional applicants to apply for mobile sports wagering licenses”.

However, it is mandated that the request for proposals integrate a scoring factor that encourages diversity in the market, including minorities, women, and service-disabled veterans in applicant ownership, leadership, and workforce.

This follows a pair of submissions by Joseph Addabbo and J Gary Pretlow in a bid to increase competition across the Empire State’s digital marketplace, which included a condition to potentially slash the current rate of tax from 51 per cent in half.

This would be based on the number of licensed mobile sports wagering operators, with it hoped that no fewer than 14 will be operational by January 31, 2023, and no less than sixteen one year later.

New York state could also be looking to make an online casino push following January’s debut of mobile sports betting.

This would permit both commercial casinos and tribal nations to operate online slots and table games within state boundaries, with each casino or operator given the nod to conduct mobile interactive gaming wagering to pay a $2m fee.