New York Casino Licenses Not Expected Until at Least Late-2025


  • State officials and interested bidders are growing impatient
  • The New York regulator says that it is ahead of schedule based on the upcoming budget
  • A Senator proposed legalizing iGaming if the casino bid process is still far from the finish line

The timeline to award three New York casino licenses isn’t getting any shorter. 

State officials indicated during a Monday meeting that they won’t settle the fate of New York casinos until late 2025, a painstakingly slow tempo that has become commonplace since the state announced its intent to bolster its gambling industry. Despite that, the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) recently said “the process remains ahead of schedule.”

Regulators are still mulling a second set of propositions from interested licensees, which they received in October.

Reviews and processes 

The race for one of the three available licenses first discussed in 2022 has turned into a marathon. The NYSGC and Gaming Facility Location Board have only answered one set of questions from potential bidders, and officials are getting impatient.

“I can’t sit by and watch this thing take so slow,” Sen. Joseph Addabbo said the PlayNY. “[I can’t] sit on the sideline… It’s a timeframe that’s too long for my taste.”

“It’s absurd that it’s going to take 3 years to put shovels in the ground,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said after Monday’s meeting. “We’re trying to rebuild the New York economy. People are looking for good jobs and upward mobility. I hope they have a change of heart.”

The drawn-out timeline contradicts the heavy interest that was shown once Gov. Kathy Hochul announced her intent to add three casinos. A slew of heavy hitters, real estate and development companies, and affluent businesspeople went to their respective corners to formulate proposals designed to prove why they deserved one of the few licenses.

Robert Williams, executive director of the NYSGC, said there are “two substantial checkpoints” that must be passed before licenses may even go under consideration: local zoning approval and a green light from the local Community Advisory Committees.

Williams also said that the New York City Planning Commission on March 20 signed off on a zoning proposal that would allow downstate casinos in specific areas. The New York City Council was given 65 days from that day to add its agreement.

Four proposals also involve the New York City Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), designed to estimate the environmental impact of a project, while others must pass the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR).

What to do in the meantime 

Williams noted that part of the reason the second round of answers has not been issued is because they will trigger a 30-day window for bidders to submit their applications.

“Practically, it makes little sense to trigger the RFA filing as a substantial completion of the SEQR or ULURP processes are unlikely to conclude before the first quarter of 2025,” Williams said. “And the environmental review processes for routinely see projects substantially amended or altered during the process. Additionally, each bidder has a continuing duty to update their application over time.” 

Williams also said he was informed that the land use process review could take until halfway through 2025. That’s despite Hochul signing a budget bill that accelerated the licensing process by a year.

Whichever application is selected by the state will be charged $500 million upfront for a license. The state also did not write any revenue from casinos into its budget until 2026, which means that it is not running on borrowed time, financially speaking.

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen is leading one of the main proposals and intends to build a casino near Citi Field in Queens. The Related Companies and WynnBet drafted proposals for a site in Hudson Yards, while bids were also planned for the Thor Equities consortium in Coney Island and Bally’s at Ferry Point in The Bronx.

New York expects a $4.3 billion budget deficit in the coming year and $9 billion the year after. Although the casino revenue was not expected until 2026, the state could use the additional funding as soon as possible.

Addabbo proposed passing an iGaming bill and creating New York online casinos to stop the bleeding until the casinos launch.