New York names nominees for casino location selection board

Another step has been taken in the process to deliver land-based casinos in New York City, with the naming of three of the five members of a panel which will decide on the locations of three casinos set to open in 2023. The nominees are Quenia Abreu, Vicki Been, and Stuart Rabinowitz, and in naming these three, the City met a Tuesday 4th October deadline to have a majority of the panel in place.

The three named panel members all have considerable histories in business and legislative roles. Abreu is the current CEO and president of New York’s Women’s Chamber of Commerce. Been is a professor in law and public policy at NYU, with a background in land use practice and environmental protection. Rabinowitz, meanwhile, has been a vice-chair of Long Island’s Regional Economic Development Council, alongside a history as a dean at Hofstra University’s School of Law.

Although there are two seats on the panel still to be filled, the selection of a majority also triggered the 90-day period in which the Request for Applications must be issued. As of this moment, it is broadly well-known where applications to open and run a casino will come from. This 90-day period will give the contenders a chance to firm up their proposals with data and planning documents, and once the applications are received, the process of lobbying to become one of the three lucky applicants will kick into gear.

An early favorite for one of the slots is Wynn Resorts, who have earmarked a space in Manhattan for their intended casino. The facility would be built in the Hudson Yards neighborhood, although some early opposition has arisen from Manhattan residents and community leaders who have voiced caution over the idea of having a casino in the borough. It remains to be seen whether such opposition would impact the decision of the board.

Two other expected applicants are MGM Resorts, which already operates the Empire City Casino in Yonkers, and Resorts World, best known for its gaming facility at the Aqueduct Racetrack. At present, the existing facilities run by these groups can only offer video terminal lottery games, which are similar to slot machines, and offer no table games. Their proposals will hinge at least in part on their ability to turn their existing facilities into fully-fledged casinos with the advantage that they could more quickly start generating revenue for the public purse.

Once names are confirmed to join Abreu, Been and Rabinowitz on the selection panel, they will have the task of evaluating proposals from the above three contenders in addition to what is expected to be a wide field of casino corporations in tandem with local developers. No decision will be made this side of the New Year, but it is expected that there will be steady movement in early 2023 with a view to at least some of the facilities opening in the second half of the year at the latest.

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