Newsday Belittles New York Casino Process

New York Casino License Process Faces Criticism for Slow Progress

Posted on: September 12, 2023, 03:31h. 

Last updated on: September 12, 2023, 03:31h.

In a recent op-ed by Newsday, the slow-moving process to award three downstate casino licenses in New York was criticized for its lack of progress. The newspaper highlighted how an initially energetic exercise has now become lethargic.

New York Casino
Times Square in New York City — a proposed cite for a casino hotel. Newsday criticized the state’s casino process. (Image: Food & Wine)

After a long wait, the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) and the Gaming Facility Location Board (GFLB) have finally provided incomplete answers to questions submitted by bidders for the gaming permits. This process began in January, meaning it took eight months for the answers to be delivered.

“The state board spent 208 days answering 613 questions from prospective applicants,” wrote Newsday in its op-ed. “That’s less than three questions per day. Some answers were thoughtful, helpful to the applicants, even insightful. But much of the Q&A contained simplistic and incomplete responses on trivial topics — like how much detail applicants should include in their submissions.”

The criticism from Newsday holds weight, as the newspaper is the authority on Long Island, where Las Vegas Sands hopes to build a casino hotel. Rumors suggest that Sands is one of the favorites to obtain a New York permit.

Pessimistic Outlook as New York Casino Guidelines Fall Short

While it is relieving that NYSGC and GFLB have provided guidelines for the bidding process, concerns remain regarding the attention given to non-essential details that could have been addressed earlier in January.

For instance, recent answers by the regulatory agencies focused on clerical formatting and time zone requirements for document submissions. As Newsday argues, this does not inspire confidence in the future progress of the casino licensing exercise.

“And it bodes badly for the process to come. If the state can’t complete this first step in a timely and thorough fashion, how will the next steps proceed?,” opined the paper. “How is the board going to navigate the Community Advisory Committee process — for which there are still no guidelines? And how is it going to manage the actual decision-making? The state has to do better.”

Newsday also highlighted that New York’s bureaucratic inefficiency extends beyond the casino license process, affecting the permitting of recreational cannabis locations and housing for migrants from other countries.

Recent reports indicate that New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, is searching for cost-saving measures due to the influx of migrants. His budget director has instructed various departments, including the Fire Department and Police Department, to cut overtime expenses.

Opportunity for New York Casino Regulators to Improve

Gaming operators will submit another round of questions on October 6, which presents New York regulators with a chance to rectify previous shortcomings.

“The board should use these next weeks to evaluate staffing and resources and make sure it’s prepared to respond far more quickly. The rest of the process should be conducted in an open, efficient way,” concluded Newsday.

The bidders themselves are in a difficult position. New York is considered one of the few potentially lucrative untapped gaming markets in the US. Operators must cooperate with regulators or risk missing out on this opportunity. Alongside Sands, companies such as Bally’s, Caesars Entertainment, Genting, MGM Resorts International, and Wynn Resorts are competing for the three New York casino licenses.

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