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Competition is fierce for new NYC casino license, here are proposals so far

New York Daily News 2/2/2023 Tim Balk, New York Daily News

New York State has launched an open-ended, high-stakes game for deep-pocketed developers: A bidding process that could deliver up to three prized casino licenses in the New York City area.

The process, run by the New York Gaming Facility Location Board, is expected to allow the state to fill all seven commercial casino licenses authorized through a 2013 amendment to the state Constitution. Four casinos have already been approved upstate.

New York is looking to cash in, charging at least $500 million for each license, and requiring a minimum $500 million capital investment.

In January, the Gaming Facility Location Board said in a statement that it would not “impose artificial deadlines” in its request for casino bid applications.

Because two licenses are expected to go to existing so-called racinos with horse racing and digital betting, the competition for a city license figures to be fierce.

A number of casino blueprints have already drawn attention. Here are some of them.

Times Square

A proposal from Caesars and SL Green Realty to put a casino in a Times Square skyscraper may be the most buzzed about — and criticized — plan so far to emerge in the sweepstakes.

SL Green has argued its designs of putting a casino at 1515 Broadway would generate 1,300 hotel jobs and drive tens of millions of dollars into Broadway box offices.

But the Broadway League, a trade group, has balked at the blueprint.

Midtown East

If Mohegan has its way, a long-vacant plot near the UN building would transform into a casino housed beneath a towering Ferris wheel and a leafy park.

Mohegan has partnered with the Soloviev Building Company on the waterfront bid.

Saks Fifth Avenue

Saks Fifth Avenue has pitched a high-end casino located on the three top floors of its upscale department store at 611 Fifth Ave. in the heart of Midtown.

Hudson Yards

Related Companies and Wynn Resorts are working on a bid to build a casino at the gleaming Hudson Yards. The casino would be located next to the Javits Center.

In a September statement, Jeff Blau, CEO of Related Companies, said the spot is “the ideal site for a resort that will reinvigorate our tourism economy and provide billions in tax revenues.”

The company has not yet fleshed out its design.

Coney Island

Once a gambling mecca, Coney Island could return to its roots with a casino by the boardwalk.

Thor Equities has joined with Saratoga Casino Holdings, the Chickasaw Nation and Legends to push for a hotel and casino at Coney Island.

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso said last month that he had not taken a position on the only casino bid in Brooklyn. “I’m not objecting to it — I’m letting the process move and run its course,” Reynoso said, adding that he would want the plan to address housing and job needs in Coney Island.

Nassau Coliseum

Las Vegas Sands has set its sights on building a resort and casino at the site of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the former home of the New York Islanders. The plot sits about seven miles from the eastern edge of Queens.

Sands has said its resort would include restaurants, ballrooms and a live performance venue.

Hotel Pennsylvania

Vornado Realty Trust, the dominant property owner in the area around Penn Station, has said it is exploring a plan to put a casino at the site of the Hotel Pennsylvania.

The mammoth century-old hotel across the street from Penn Station is currently undergoing demolition, to the disappointment of preservationists.

“We are studying the possibility of applying for a casino license, but we have no deal in place,” Vornado said in a statement.

Trump Golf Links in the Bronx

Bally’s, a Rhode Island-based casino chain, has said it is exploring a plan to build a Bronx casino on a 17-acre plot that is now part of the struggling Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point.

Bally’s said it signed a lease agreement in December with the Trump Organization to transfer city-owned land for the potential casino project.

In a statement, Bally’s said it had begun an “ongoing series of conversations with local elected officials, community groups and key civic leaders,” soliciting input on the bid.

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