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New York Lawmakers Pass Bill To Speed Up Casino Licensing

Critics Say Slow Movement Is Hurting The State

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The seemingly never-ending New York City casino licensing process could soon be speeding up. Lawmakers in the state assembly and house have approved a bill setting a deadline for the process to come to an end.

Over the last year and a half, casinos have been jockeying for three licenses set to be given out in the New York City area, with two of those expected to go to existing properties. Recent reports said that the process could even drag further into 2025 as there was no deadline for bid selection in the original process.

The new bill cuts that off at the end of August with the New York Gaming Facility Location Board then mandated to make a selection by the end of December 2025.

“I’ve been trying to get the process moving,” Assemblyman Gary Pretlow (D) told the New York Post in May. “It’s taking too long. We’re leaving $2 billion on the table. Why are we stringing this along? We’re spinning our wheels here.”

The bill now heads to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) desk. The sped-up selection schedule comes as the state faces projected budget shortfalls. of $11.3 billion in 2026, $13.4 billion in 2027, and $15.9 billion in 2028. The governor also recently scrapped an unpopular “congestion pricing” plan for drivers heading to Midtown New York City.

The plan was expected to produce billions of dollars for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). Legislators now say at least some of the casino revenue could be funneled into the struggling MTA.

Several major gaming companies have gotten in on the bidding process. Winning bidders are expected to pay at least $500 million for a license. Casino industry insiders expressed relief that the process may now at least get cleared up.

“The legislation brings clarity to the process,” a casino industry source told the New York Post. “The state gaming commission has been kicking the can down the road.”

In related news, a plan for a new casino in the area around Citi Field, home to the Mets, was rejected by a key state senator.