Gov. Hochul’s Budget Might Result In More Downstate New York Casinos

Written By Derek Helling on January 21, 2022Last Updated on January 28, 2022
News and Casino Changes In Downtown New York Manhattan and Empire State Building

If you’ve been waning on making that deposit on a flying car for fear you would have no place to land it in Manhattan, fret no longer. That might be closer to reality than many would imagine, given the prospects around downstate New York casinos.

NY Gov. Kathy Hochul recently unveiled her budget plan for the state for the next year, and it includes a measure to hasten the licensing process for such gaming facilities. The possibilities for those spaces seem almost fantastical right now.

Downstate New York casinos get the budget boost

For the second consecutive year, it looks like New York’s budgetary dealings will bring great news to the gambling industry. In 2021, it was then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s budget brought about the legalization of online sports betting in NY.

Currently, there’s a prohibition on the NY State Gaming Commission awarding more licenses for brick-and-mortar casinos for another year. A provision in Hochul’s budget would repeal that prohibition. That would allow the Commission to essentially put out a request for applications immediately.

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“We will issue an order to get bids in … there’ll be a board that makes a selection process for casinos across the state largely — the three will be probably focused in the downstate area, but there’s no restriction there,” said Hochul’s budget director Robert Mujica.

There are some favorites to get one of the three licenses. However, it will be a competition. Some of the public plans have elements that seem futuristic, too.

Established contenders in the area

The downstate area of NY already has a couple of racinos: Empire City Casino in Yonkers and Resorts World New York City in Queens. In addition to pari-mutuel wagering on horse races, those facilities also offer a limited number of slot machines.

A Class III casino license would allow them to expand those slot offerings. Additionally, they could add retail sportsbooks and table games. While those might be among the most likely applicants, there are more.

In fact, Queens might get busy. Casino operators have been scouting land near Citi Field. The owner of the New York Mets, Steve Cohen, has reportedly been in talks with the Las Vegas Sands Corporation about a casino adjacent to the stadium. The Mets lease that property.

Other potential sites that Sands and other casino operators have looked at so far include plots near Belmont Park in Long Island and the St. George neighborhood on Staten Island. The tentative proposal that has made the most clamor has its eyes on Manhattan, though.

Fly in to trade crypto and watch some eSports

UE Resorts International has shared its designs for a casino in Manhattan. The plans not only include the largest cryptocurrency trading floor in the world but also:

  • A landing pad for flying cars
  • Arena for eSports competitions
  • Event space capable of accommodating sporting events like the US Open

The plans estimate the construction cost at over $3 billion and call the casino Mirai, which is Japanese for the future. Though UE Resorts International currently has no properties in North America right now, it plans to go public and use those resources for global expansion.

It’s too early to tell whether this proposal or any other has the edge over the field of contenders. Given the population in the area, it’s safe to assume that competition will be fierce. Probably even more fierce than the race to produce the first flying car for mass distribution.

Photo by Victor Moussa /
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of Playin USA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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