Hochul seeks to fast-track NYC-area casinos

Budget proposal advances timeline by two years

Kathy Hochul, governor of New York (Getty Images, iStock)
Kathy Hochul, governor of New York (Getty Images, iStock)

Gov. Kathy Hochul laid her cards on the table Tuesday, calling for New York City to get new casinos earlier than expected.

As part of her proposed budget, the governor called for speeding up authorization for as many as three casinos in or around the city. The state Gaming Commission was poised to issue the licenses after 2023, but Hochul wants it done this year.

When asked by a reporter if the gambling establishments would be in the five boroughs, her budget director, Robert Mujica, said they would be Downstate, but that the plan does not specify locations.

Last year, several developers expressed interest in building a casino in the city. Vornado Realty Trust reportedly pitched one near Herald Square, while L&L Holding Company proposed one at West 47th Street and Broadway. Wynn Resorts, Bally’s, Las Vegas Sands and Hard Rock Cafe all responded to the Gaming Commission’s request for information in December, according to the Times Union.

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Those responses do not necessarily mean those companies will submit bids when the time comes. The state still has to issue a request for applications for the licenses.

But first, the legislature needs to agree to Hochul’s acceleration of the timeline. Folding it into the budget allows them to do so without voting separately on casinos, but often legislative leaders as governors to separate such measures from the annual spending plan, which would begin April 1.

In 2013, New Yorkers voted in favor of issuing seven casino licenses. The first four went to venues upstate, where the economy was seen as needing more help.