New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is considering a bill that expedites the issuance of three New York City-area casino licenses.

New York’s state legislature passed Senate Bill 9673 in the waning days of its recent session. The bill contained an amendment, added by Sen. Joseph Addabbo, dictating the state must take applications for downstate casino sites by Aug. 31, 2024, and the New York Gaming Facility Location Board must make recommendations on the three downstate licensees by Dec. 31, 2025.

Hochul, who oversees the New York State Gaming Commission that will issue the licenses, said through a spokesperson only that she would review and consider the legislation.

The timeline in the bill is much more ambitious than that laid out by state regulators just a few months ago, when they announced they would not ask for applications until mid-2025 and would make license recommendations at the end of 2025.

While that timeline was similar in terms of when recommendations would be delivered, lawmakers pointed out the need for hard deadlines throughout the process and speculated that if applications are received earlier, decisions may be made earlier. The earlier application deadline ensures the six-person, neighborhood-level committees that will review each casino proposal and hold binding votes as early as September.

Proponents of the bill touted the state revenue and jobs the casinos will generate. Each winning bidder would pay an upfront license fee of at least $500 million. Each downstate casino is expected to generate $2 billion annually and the state should receive hundreds of millions in tax revenue. Estimates range as high as 60,000 jobs created.

The bill also includes language that will give winning bidders two years to figure out land-use problems – a nod to some of the 11 known bidders who have those issues. It does not, however, stipulate whether the siting boards would even recommend a bidder facing land-use problems.

Attorneys with Harris Beach’s Gaming and Hospitality Industry Team will continue to monitor this development and related matters. If you have questions, please reach out to Rajat R. Shah at (716) 200-5109 and rshah@harrisbeach.com, or the Harris Beach attorney with whom you most frequently work.

This alert is not a substitute for advice of counsel on specific legal issues.

Harris Beach has offices throughout New York state, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Long Island, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse and White Plains, as well as Washington D.C., New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.