The body that will decide which developers get casino licenses in downstate New York released answers Wednesday to the first round of questions interested bidders submitted nearly seven months ago.
Interested bidders in the three available licenses submitted 613 questions to the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board in February. As state gaming officials admitted earlier in the year, answering those questions took longer than initially expected. NYCasinos – your source for online New York casinos – has watched with great interest.
A cursory review of the questions found many of them to be duplicative. That’s not a surprise, given that representatives from different bid teams likely would have similar questions after reviewing the request for applications in January. Most questions were also technical in nature, seeking answers about the format or processes.
More Questions to Come
Wednesday’s release was a key milestone for the board, but much more must be accomplished before any final decisions are made. For starters, it also triggered the start of the second round of questions. Those will be due to the state by Oct. 6, and if state officials need as much time as they did in the first round, answers to those questions won’t be released until mid-spring.
In addition, the GFLB still needs two more members to complete its five-member roster, and it needs to select a chair. The board told interested bidders it did not have a date for making decisions on either new members or a leader.
After the second round of questions is answered, interested parties will have 30 days to submit their applications. Those applications will be reviewed by a local Community Advisory Committee (CAC). Applications will need two-thirds support from the CAC, along with zoning approvals, before the GFLB can consider them.
Several Expected to Apply
With the casinos slated to be built in the country’s largest metropolitan area, competition for the licenses is expected to be fierce. Several projects already have stated their intention to bid for a license. That includes casinos being proposed by Wynn Resorts in Hudson Yards, Caesars in Times Square and Las Vegas Sands in Nassau County.
In addition, Resorts World and MGM Resorts International have plans to renovate their video lottery terminal facilities at Aqueduct and Yonkers, respectively, into full-fledged casino resorts.
New York State gaming officials have stated repeatedly that no one will receive preferential treatment.
Each available casino license carries a $500 million licensing fee, although the GFLB said that figure was just a minimum and that applicants can propose paying a higher amount. The tax rates the approved casinos will pay remain to be determined.
Under the budget approved last spring by New York lawmakers, the license fees from the three casinos will go to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. So, too, will a portion of the tax revenue the casinos generate.
Stay close to NYCasinos.com for updates along the way and for information on New York online casino bonuses.