Newsday Slams New York Casino Process

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

Last updated on: September 12, 2023, 07:37h.

New York’s slow-moving process to award three downstate casino licenses was derided in a Newsday op-ed, with the media outlet noting an exercise that started as energetic has now turned 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)

Late last month, the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) and the Gaming Facility Location Board (GFLB) finally answered questions submitted by bidders for the gaming permits after that process opened in January. Translation: It took eight months for those answers to arrive, and many are viewed as incomplete.

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.”

But Newsday isn’t full of hot air on the topic of downstate casinos. Rather, its coverage of and views on the matter are relevant because it’s the media outlet of record on Long Island — the jurisdiction in which Las Vegas Sands is looking to build a casino hotel. The rumor mill indicates Sands is one of the leading contenders to win a New York permit.

New York Casino Answers Provide Pessimism

While it may be viewed as a relief that NYSGC and the GFLB finally provided gaming operators with some guidelines as to how the bidding process will evolve, there’s also concern that the regulatory agencies got bogged down in pedantic minutia that could have been addressed in January.

For example, some of the answers recently provided address subjects such as clerical formatting and proper time zones to be used in the submission of documents. As Newsday argues, that doesn’t foster confidence that the casino permit exercise will improve from here.

“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 noted that the casino license process isn’t the only example of New York’s bureaucratic incompetence. The state is grappling with permitting recreational cannabis locations and housing for an influx of migrants from other countries.

On Monday, it was reported that New York City Mayor Eric Adams  — a Democrat – is looking for avenues to reduce costs amid the migrant wave. His budget director, Jacques Jiha, told the New York Fire Department, Police Department, and departments of corrections and sanitation to cut overtime expenses.

New York Casino Regulators Can Get It Right

Another round of queries from gaming operators will be submitted on Oct. 6, allowing New York regulators to improve on prior missteps.

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.

As for the bidders, their hands are tied. New York is widely viewed as one of a small number of potentially lucrative, untapped gaming markets in the U.S. Operators have to play ball with regulators or miss out on the opportunity. In addition to Sands, companies vying for the three New York casino licenses include Bally’s, Caesars Entertainment, Genting, MGM Resorts International, and Wynn Resorts, among others.