New York State regulators release first set of answers to queries from Downstate casino license applicants

State gambling regulators have released the initial Q&A responses from downstate New York casino applicants, shedding light on their early-stage concerns about the application process for up to three new licenses.

The comprehensive 103-page report delves into the regulatory requirements for the 11 applicants vying for three downstate New York casino licenses. Covering topics ranging from construction expenses and licensing fees to Community Advisory Committees and diversity initiatives, the report, jointly issued by the NY State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) and Gaming Facility Location Board (GFLB) addresses a total of 613 queries submitted during the January 3 to February 3 period.

According to NYSGC, the deadline for the second round of applicant questions is October 6. As of now, there is no announced date for the board’s responses to these inquiries.

Notably, in response to the question regarding the license fee and term, the answer clarified that the minimum license fee is set at $500 million, and the minimum license term is 10 years.

“The Commission will consider the proposed licensing term in relation to the total financial and economic value of the Applicant’s proposal in relation to other Applicants’ proposals,” the Q&A paper said.

As per media reports, downstate New York casinos are anticipated to generate substantial employment opportunities, contribute millions in local tax revenue, and generate billions in gambling proceeds.

The issuance of the three licenses is expected to yield a prompt infusion of $1.5 billion. To secure one of these licenses, applicants are required to submit a $500 million fee and allocate a minimum of $500 million toward capital investments.

However, the cautious and deliberate approach taken by New York gaming regulators has led to frustration among some who believe it is impeding the realization of expansion benefits.

In January, state Sen. Joe Addabbo, chair of the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, said: “The quicker the three licenses are approved, the quicker we can begin to realize the major benefits to the state, such as thousands of construction and post-construction jobs, billions in revenue from the licenses, an increase in problem gambling monies and programs, as well as billions more in educational funding.”

Many parties have already shown an interest in gaining licenses. Additionally, MGM Resorts, which owns Empire City Casino at the Yonkers Raceway; and Genting Group, which operates Resorts World Casino New York City at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, are eyeing full licenses to expand their current offerings.

Access the full document here.