Eric AdamsSummary:

  • The proposal opens licensing to manufacturing districts.
  • There are no restrictions on the size of the venues.
  • The proposal also includes allowing related construction like dining and hotels.

New York Mayor Eric Adams is proposing changes to the zoning process for casinos in New York City, opening up the options to a wider area in the city limits.

Adams proposes that zoning changes be made to allow casinos to be located in any manufacturing district except the lower-density commercial areas. He also has placed no restrictions on size and would allow developers to create additional venues onsite, including restaurants, bars, hotels, and entertainment venues.

Sweeping Zoning Changes

Officials within The Adams Administration say that the zoning changes are necessary to ensure a smooth regulatory process for the winner of the downstate gaming license. Officials feel that amendments to zoning will make the city more competitive for licensing.

Department of City Planning and City Planning Commission head Dan Garodnick commented it is important to create a level playing field for casino license applicants in New York City as the competition begins for the opportunity.

The amendment will set up a rational framework for consideration within the zoning area. It does not duplicate the rigorous licensing process but better sets up the zoning area for competition.

Most Bids Are in the City

Most of the current bids for licensing are based in the city, with operators wanting easy access to the more than eight million residents living in the area. Major gambling and real estate companies have proposed building casinos in several areas, including Times Square, Coney Island, and Citi Field.

There are three casino licenses up for grabs, but two existing racinos are expected to be upgraded, leaving only one license remaining for a new full-scale casino. The Aqueduct Racetrack and Empire City Casino already have gaming but do not offer table games. The new licensing would allow the existing properties to upgrade their offerings.

Because this potentially leaves one license on the table, the competition for it has already gotten fierce. Bidders are doing everything they can to stand out, including offering free shuttle service and sponsoring local sports leagues.

The new zoning proposal is just an idea for now, and it must make it through the city’s land use review process. Local community boards where bids were submitted must provide approval, and the City Planning Commission, City Council, and Mayor must also be on board.

However, if approved, the zoning process would mean that the license holder would not need to go through the process again. This would lead to quicker construction start times and eventual opening. The state Gaming Commission must approve any proposal that wins the license and has passed the Community Advisory Committee.

About the Author

Author Sadonna Price has been part of the online casino industry for over a decade, watching it develop and expand across the US. She enjoys playing online slots and table games, as well as Texas Hold’em.