In order to determine which gaming companies will win three new casino gaming licenses that Gov. Kathy Hochul included in her executive budget, the administration, the Legislature and the New York State Gaming Commission will need to create what state Sen. Joseph Addabbo calls “an open and transparent and credible process."
Addabbo, who chairs the Senate Committee on Gaming, Racing and Wagering, gave Capital Tonight a glimpse into what he’ll be looking for from winning bidders.
“One of the aspects of this process should be speed-to-market,” he said. “So, if we were to realize the revenue (this year) from these downstate licenses combined, (it) could be anywhere from about $1.5 billion to $2 billion.”
Indeed, some sources Capital Tonight has spoken with believe that the two existing downstate racinos have a leg up in this process because they already have the infrastructure in place to quickly launch traditional gambling casinos.
However, Addabbo said the process is still wide open.
“It’s not predetermined, no. And I think most entities in the industry understand that,” he said.
Regarding a casino in Manhattan, which is considered the great white whale for a few gaming companies, Addabbo said he is not convinced it would be in the best interests of the people of New York state.
“I don’t know, I always thought that gaming types go to where there is a need for an economic boost,” Addabbo said. “I don’t know if we need a casino in Manhattan. Manhattan already has an economic engine.”
Discussions regarding where to site the new casinos are ongoing within the Senate and Assembly Democratic conferences.
During a meeting Monday morning of the Senate Gaming, Racing and Wagering committee, Gaming Association President Michael Kane said he was optimistic about the support his upstate members have for new downstate casinos.
“Our members are extremely supportive of the applications,” Kane said. “They don’t feel that there will be a negative effect. They feel that having a vibrant downstate gaming mecca can disperse somewhat through the rest of the state.”
It should be noted that one of the two downstate racinos is run by Resorts World. Resorts World also owns the gambling casino in Sullivan County, which is the closest existing casino in New York state to the New York City population center.
Sen. Addabbo agreed with Kane, that there is not much of a concern among upstate casino owners, but it’s something to watch out for.
“The bottom line is we do not want to cannibalize something that has been a successful economic engine for the upstate community,” Addabbo said.
On mobile sports betting, Addabbo is bullish, but worried, about what may happen when the incentives of this weekend’s mobile sports betting returns were quite good
“That is the key. It is about sustainability. Our record-breaking first couple of weeks has been remarkable, but the key is sustainability,” he said. “New York has a great product and it shows in the numbers.”
According to Addabbo, in one day, New York mobile sports betting made $3.7 million, which is more than the state made in two years with in-person sports betting.
Regarding the problems some of the sports books have had with their apps, Addabbo said he has full confidence that the New York State Gaming Commission will address the issues that need to be addressed.