New report sheds light on possible NYC casino delay
A new study ordered by the state Gaming Commission brings forth the possibility of detaining the licensing of new casinos in New York City to let the existing upstate facilities recover better from the damage brought on by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, which forced them to shut down for a certain period of time in the summer and only now re-opening on a reduced basis.
“In light of the unprecedented COVID-19 situation and the resulting economic fallout, the State of New York could opt to delay, for an undetermined period, the decision to authorize three commercial casinos in the Downstate region,” read the report from Spectrum Gaming Group consultants. “Such a decision would have both positive and negative implications and results,” said the study.
Under the state’s primary casino laws, up to three casinos were supposed to be licensed in 2023 – after the 2015 licenses were handed out to four upstate facilities including Rivers in Schenectady.
The goal was to let casinos upstate establish themselves before bringing in the popular ones from the densely populated, customer-rich New York City. The advantages of a delay would let upstate casinos adapt easily to conditions, which have, at least for this year, worsened due to the pandemic.
However, a delay in the 2023 licensing would mean that revenues in licensing fees and ultimately casino revenues would also be delayed. Furthermore, many believe that New Jersey voters could possibly accept a casino in the northern part of the state near New York City, allowing the Garden State to get a leap on the competition.
This analysis comes amid pressure from both politicians and casino companies to accelerate the New York City process in order to lead in more revenue quickly. Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated earlier in January that he stands skeptical over what could be a “knee jerk reaction” to the state’s budgetary distress.