NEW YORK — The state legislature is preparing to roll the dice to approve three casino licenses for the New York area.
Talks are still ongoing, but sources told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer on Wednesday that there was optimism the deal would be part of the new state budget.
But where would a casino go in the five arrondissements?
A luxurious, high-end casino atop the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store in Midtown is just one of the ideas that have been floated as a possible location. It’s right across from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which might be a deal breaker. However, lawmakers say Manhattan is the holy grail for casino operators.
“Well, the industry has made it clear with its endless supply of lobbyists that the number one goal in the country, for the gaming industry, is to have a casino in Manhattan. And I get it. That’s where that’s where all the people are. That’s where all the tourists are. That’s the glitziest part of New York City,” said State Senator Liz Krueger, who represents Manhattan.
Krueger, the Senate finance chair, is not and has never been a fan of casino games, but she and Sen. Joe Addabbo, chairman of the Racing, Gaming and Betting Committee, told Kramer that they expected to see plenty of bids to build a gambling hall in Manhattan, if the legislature expedites the issuance of three new casino licenses in the downstate.
“I’m not a betting lady, but I’m willing to bet there would be more than one group interested in Manhattan,” Krueger said. “You know, we’re this funny little island. Like, we’re the size of a pinhead that everyone wants to be on.”
Sources told Kramer that when the New York State Gaming Commission sent out questionnaires to potential bidders for the three licenses, it got more than 30 responses, many with proposals from Manhattan.
The Legislative Assembly’s interest in approving licenses is financial. As the state recovers from the pandemic and federal COVID money dries up, casinos are both a source of revenue and a source of thousands of well-paying jobs. Competition for licenses could be a boon.
“A minimum of $500 million per license. An open bidding process can bring that up to $750 million or even $1 billion,” Addabbo said.
If Governor Kathy Hochul and lawmakers reach a casino deal, the Gaming Commission would issue requests for proposals, but officials believe Empire City Racino in Yonkers and Resorts World in Queens would have the way forward, as they would only have to add to the existing facilities. .
“It will always be an open process, but if we create a scoring mechanism where you get certain points for certain aspects, if we look at speed to market, how quickly can a license generate those jobs, that revenue “said Addabbo.
Kramer asked Mayor Eric Adams where he would like to see a casino. He was careful not to choose a favorite.
“We’re hoping we get two locations in New York…to help boost our economy and our tourism, we can get two locations in New York,” Adams said.
So if you spin the roulette, it’s likely to land at the Resort World site in Queens and another location in town. Kramer heard proposals ranging from Times Square to the Citi Field area.