Here’s Who Will Make Decisions On Downstate New York Casinos

Written By Derek Helling on October 5, 2022
downstate licenses new york casinos rfa

There will soon be three new downstate New York casinos.

Appropriately, three people will collectively decide which bids will win a license to operate one of those New York casinos. The identities of those three people are no longer a “myster-three.”

The New York State Gaming Commission announced its appointments to the Gaming Facility Location Board on Monday. Additionally, the Commission offered an update on when the next step in the process will begin.

The panel will select sites of future New York casinos

A press release from the Commission identifies the three members of the new panel. The selections consist of:

  • Quenia, A. Abreu, New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce CEO
  • Vicki L. Been, NYU Boxer School of Law Family Professor of Law
  • Stuart Rabinowitz, senior counsel at Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone, LLP

This is Rabinowitz’s second stint on a gaming facility location board in New York. He previously served a role on a similar body in 2014 and 2015. The release states “Abreu has deep experience with the professional and business development of women and minorities.”

Regarding Been, the release says she “has done extensive research on New York City’s land use patterns, inclusionary zoning, historic preservation, the interplay of community benefit arrangements with land use practices, and on a variety of affordable housing and land use policies.”

The Commission added this three-person board “is responsible for reviewing and evaluating casino applications and ultimately recommending up to three facilities for licensure.”

Among the criteria, they will consider for those license approvals according to Robyn McNeil of PlayNY are:

  1. Business development
  2. Diversity framework
  3. Local impact

Thus, this trio seems fit to fill the task ahead. To meet a new deadline the Commission has imposed, they’ll need to get right to work.

Commission updates timeline for license applicants

Several companies are interested in trying to snag a downstate casino license. Those entities now have some idea of when the selection process could get moving.

Monday’s press release says the Commission expects to issue its Request For Applications (RFA) by Jan. 6, 2023.

As one of its first acts, the board consisting of Abreu, Been, and Rabinowitz announced the availability of a website. The site “will be a repository for all materials relating to the siting process, including the RFA and submitted applications.”

The Board is responsible for drafting the RFA, so it will likely get to work on that straight away.

Once the Board posts that, interested bidders can file their applications. Among likely applicants are MGM Resorts and Resorts World, which are currently operating slot parlors in Yonkers and Queens, respectively.

They are likely to get licenses so they can upgrade to Class III casinos. Such a license would enable them to offer poker, retail sportsbooks, and table games.

Other probable contenders include Bally’s, Sands, and Wynn, all of whom have gone on the record confirming their interest. Once they submit those applications, their fates will lie in the hands of Abreu, Been, and Rabinowitz.

Photo by AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA. 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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