New York Proposal to Expedite Casino Build Fails to Register Support During Vote


  • The board voted 39-1 in favor of a resolution opposing the proposal
  • Land-use reviews require public build projects to undergo a thorough review regarding their impact on the surrounding area
  • The proposal argues that casinos will already need to undergo reviews to be licensed by the state

A controversial proposal in New York that would help fast-track a casino project is failing to generate support from local policymakers. 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ office showed support for a new measure that would allow casino-build projects to commence without falling victim to the land-use review, which has spelled the end of many previous proposals. However, Manhattan Community Board 6 voted Wednesday 39-1 against the idea.

The idea to bypass the land-use review was submitted by the Department of City Planning. Without a way around it, all casino projects will have to be greenlighted only after their impact on the city and local areas is approved.

Thoughts behind the proposal 

The main argument behind the new proposal is that casinos already need to undergo public reviews to obtain their gambling licenses, making the land-use review (known as ULURP) unnecessary. 

The Manhattan board that voted on Wednesday represents Midtown East, which is just a few blocks from the Empire State Building and Central Park. It is the planned location of one casino proposal submitted to the state in the quest to land one of three planned casino licenses in New York. 

The Soloviev Group, a real estate and development company, proposed the idea of building a casino, a 1,200-room hotel, retail and restaurant stops, a museum, and 1,325 apartments between 38th and 41st streets (in Midtown East). 

The New York Times reported that 40% of the apartments would be deemed “affordable,” and 513 below-market rentals would be available for roughly 70% of the local median income.

Soloviev chief executive Michael Hersman said that the proposal is only feasible if the casino is approved.

Unfortunately for The Soloviev Group and casino lobbyists, the board voted in favor of a resolution supporting the need for the land-use review without discussion. Presidents from the five boroughs are also due to provide opinions on a zoning amendment that will later be voted on by the City Planning Commission and City Council.

The board was not the first to show opposition to the new proposal. Manhattan Community Board 4 already voted against the plan to circumvent the land-use review, and Manhattan Community Board 5 is due to vote on the idea on Thursday.

Dissent is not unanimous, however. Community Board 13’s economic development team approved the Adams-backed idea, a major win for a Coney Island area that has been discussed as a landing spot for one of the casinos.

High-stakes competition 

The competition for one of New York’s casino licenses is expected to be fierce. Real estate and development teams, influential businessmen, and gaming companies have been taking to their corners to prepare their respective bids. 

One of the most notable casino proposals is backed by New York Mets owner Steve Cohen, who partnered with Hard Rock International to create an $8 billion plan.

Cohen’s plan, if approved, would see a new gaming facility with the potential to generate $1.9 billion annually, per Spectrum Gaming estimates, right in Queens. Developers would also build 20 acres of park space, athletic fields, a subway station, and a food fall.

Other rumored destinations of the dozen or so proposals include Ferry Point, the Bronx, Coney Island, and more.

New York will create six-member committees that will review each casino application. Committee members will include appointees selected by the governor, mayor, borough president, and local policymakers. Each committee must show two-thirds support to approve an application for consideration.

New York is one of the largest gaming powerhouses in America. The New York State Gaming Commission revealed that legal sportsbooks generated $1.69 billion in gross gaming revenue (GGR) in 2023, leading to $861 million in tax funding. 

New York casinos also finished the year with $680.6 million in GGR, just $10 million off an all-time record. The introduction of three new high-level casinos would surely drive the state to new records.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.