New York gambling regulator pondering ‘downstate’ casino resort move

The New York State Gaming Commission has reportedly launched a campaign that could eventually see up to three Las Vegas-style casino resorts opened in the highly-populated ‘downstate’ region around New York City.

According to a Wednesday report from the New York Post newspaper, the state regulator is running a ‘request for expressions of interest’ process until December 10 so as to gauge the feasibility of bringing one or more giant gambling facilities to the nation’s largest city or its surrounding communities. The ‘downstate’ region of New York embraces the state’s nine southernmost counties as well as the five boroughs of New York City and, unlike its northern ‘upstate’ counterpart, does not currently feature any large commercial casino resorts.

Existing enterprises:

The newspaper reported that the New York City borough of Queens is already home to the slots-only Resorts World New York City facility from Genting Malaysia Berhad while MGM Resorts International is responsible for the similarly-limited Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway venue in nearby Westchester County. The New York State Gaming Commission is purportedly now eager to hear evidence that could result in this pair of ‘downstate’ properties being transformed into full-blown casino resorts or see large gambling-friendly developments premiere in Suffolk County, Nassau County, Westchester County, Rockland County or Putnam County.

Southern sanction:

The New York Post reported that a state constitutional amendment passed in 2013 resulted in the premiere of four ‘upstate’ New York casino resorts encompassing the Resorts World Catskills, Rivers Casino and Resort Schenectady, Tioga Downs Casino Resort and Del Lago Resort and Casino. But this legislation simultaneously enacted a ten-year moratorium on the opening of any ‘downstate’ counterparts for ‘The Empire State’ despite long-running interest from a large club of operators that encompasses Wynn Resorts Limited, Bally’s Corporation and Las Vegas Sands Corporation.

Reported read a Wednesday statement from the New York State Gaming Commission…

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“The New York State Gaming Commission is seeking information to develop a better understanding of interest in the unawarded commercial casino licenses and, if there is interest, what factors should be considered by the state in the development of a process to award such licenses. Accordingly, the New York State Gaming Commission is issuing this document to draw input from interested and affected parties.”

Preliminary aversion:

However, the New York Post reported that any move to authorize a large casino resort for the island of Manhattan will likely face stern resistance from local lawmakers and anti-gambling groups. One such proposition for ‘The Big Apple’ authorized earlier this year as part of the eastern state’s budget was purportedly later killed off by members of the New York City Council amid fears that it could seriously endanger the city’s commercial and residential kagame quality.