Casino players gunning for lucrative upstate licenses

November 11, 2013 10:52AM

Top casino operators — including Newmark Grubb Knight Frank chairman Jeffrey Gural — are vying for the opportunity to operate four new casinos in upstate New York, and are investing heavily in lobbying efforts in order to win the lucrative licenses.

New York’s new casino law, pushed through by Governor Andrew Cuomo last week, calls for one casino site in the Catskills, one in the Albany region and one in the Southern Tier bordering Pennsylvania, Crain’s reported. A fourth site is likely to be in the Catskills, given its proximity to New York City, according to Crain’s. The state’s gaming commission is gearing up to establish a casino board comprised of financial experts, economists and real estate executives and it will determine the winning bidders.

Gural’s Tioga Downs racino is considered the favorite to win in the Southern Tier, sources told Crain’s. But the battle is at its fiercest in the Catskills, where major players such as Caesars and Empire Resorts – controlled by a Malaysian gambling giant – are competing with New York City developers such as Muss Development to nab the license. [Crain’s]  – Hiten Samtani