New York City Full Casinos Could Be Ready A Year From Licensing, Senator Says

Las Vegas-style casinos could be operational in the New York City area in one to five years after being licensed, a state senator says.

Sen. Joseph Addabbo, D-Queens, told two area resorts already with slots could offer complete casino games within a year from licensing. Addabbo is chairman of the state Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee.

The process to open an unestablished site “from ground breaking to ribbon cutting” could take four to five years, he said.

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Two Racinos Could Be ‘Plug and Play’

One limited casino already operating in the area is Empire City, a MGM Resorts harness track in Yonkers, just north of the Bronx. 

The other is Genting’s Resorts World at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, near the John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Under current law, these two racinos are allowed to offer slot-style video lottery terminal games, but not casino games such as craps, blackjack or roulette. WIth a full casino license, they could add table games.

Addabbo noted that Resorts World would be a “plug-and-play” operation allowing it to expand into full casino gaming within a year. Empire City would fall into the same category.

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Resorts World New York Top Casino Outside Nevada

Even without table games, Resorts World last year had “the most gambling revenue of any casino property outside Nevada,” the New York Times reported.

An expansion into table games could be expected to boost its revenue even more. Like slots, table games mathematically favor the casino. 

Though Nevada attracts millions of tourists annually, its population is only about 3.2 million. New York City alone has an estimated population of 8.5 million and also attracts tourists from around the globe.

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Lawmakers OK Downstate Casinos

This spring, the New York Legislature approved the licensing of three downstate casinos under a $220 billion state budget. The legislative session ended last week in Albany. 

Four commercial casinos already are in operation in upstate New York.

The closest commercial casino to New York City is the Resorts World Catskills property, about 100 miles north of city.

These upstate commercial resorts are in addition to seven tribal casinos in the state.  

The three downstate casinos could be located in the lower Hudson Valley, on Long Island or in New York City’s five boroughs, including Manhattan.

The New York State Gaming Commission will oversee the licensing under a competitive bidding process.

In New York City, a community advisory committee will be tasked with helping identify locations.

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Empire State Leads Nation In Sports Betting 

The addition of three full casinos in the New York City area would be “a potentially seismic development that officials have touted as a way of attracting new jobs, tax revenue and visitors,” the New York Times reported.

Statewide, New York already leads the nation in the amount of money bet on sports. Its $1.6 billion March sports betting handle, most of which came from eight mobile apps, outpaced the next highest states. Those states are New Jersey ($1.1 billion), Illinois ($971 million) and Nevada ($863.3 million).

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