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There are currently only three downstate casino licenses available in New York with several companies vying

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New York downstate casino pic

In New York, 16 casinos are being run by Indian Tribes. Additionally, several state-licensed commercial casinos are available to residents. The Empire State might be in the market to expand its casino operations. New York currently has three downstate casino licenses available. However, several companies are vying for one of the three licenses to build their legal casino operations. 

There is reportedly no backup plan for firms that fail to get a license. That means they will not do anything with their selected sites. Hard Rock CEO Jim Allen and Las Vegas Sands CEO Rob Goldstein have noted it would be nearly impossible to generate adequate revenue with gaming venues. Kathryn Brenzel of The Real Deal reported that two casino contenders do not currently have a backup plan. 

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen has partnered with Hard Rock Casino to build an $8 billion Metropolitan Park Plan. That would include a gaming venue across the street from Citi Field. Additionally, real estate developer SL Green is working with Caesars Entertainment and Jay-Z on a hotel plan for Times Square. They are just two of the companies vying for one of the downstate casino licenses.

Are there any companies with a backup plan if they fail to obtain a casino license?

MGM Resorts International’s Empire City Casino and Genting’s Resorts World New York in Queens are vying for a casino license in New York. If they fail to obtain one, there is reportedly a backup plan in place. Not something every company has. Their properties in New York would continue to operate as slot-only venues. Additionally, Wynn Resorts is working with real estate company Related Cos. to bring a casino and hotel to the Hudson West area of the Hudson Yards. If they fail to get a license, they still plan to build cost-effective residential housing. 

Mets owner Steve Cohen’s Plan B would be to get another lawmaker to bring their casino bill to the floor. We know that Cohen is going to be persistent, especially with the support of a casino like Hard Rock. Thor Equities is looking to build a gaming venue near Coney Island and might opt to sell their land if they do not get one of the three downstate casino licenses. Several companies are vying for one of the three coveted downstate casino licenses that will be available in New York. 

As time continues to pass, it looks like operators may have to wait another year to get a casino license in New York. State regulators could wait until late 2025 or even 2026 to make a final decision on who will obtain a license. While that upsets operators right now, it will benefit them in the long run. With only three downstate licenses available, several operators will fail to get one. New York’s extended timeline for downstate casino licenses gives operators ample time to find a backup plan. It also gives them a chance to assess their bids for a casino license and decide if they want to proceed with plans that could end up failing. We’ll have to wait and see what New York does and which casinos get a downstate license.