In 2013, the New York State Constitution was amended to authorize up to seven commercial casinos in the state. Subsequently, the State sited four commercial casinos in upstate New York. In 2022, the enacted New York State budget established a new siting process and criteria for the remaining three licenses.
The New York State Gaming Commission will not determine who is awarded the remaining three licenses. Instead, the Gaming Facility Location Board (GFLB) will grant the casino licenses. But before the GFLB may evaluate an application for a casino license, the application’s Community Advisory Committee (CAC) must approve the project and all zoning requirements must be met.
Though much attention has been paid to various casino proposals over the last year, no applications have yet been submitted for any of the three available licenses. The GFLB is currently in a question and answer period with prospective applicants. Applications will not be accepted until the GFLB posts its written answers to the second round of written questions from prospective applicants on its website: https://nycasinos.ny.gov/
Once the second set of answers are posted on the GFLB website, 30 days from that posting, the applications are due.
Once the applications are submitted, before anything is done, the CACs will be appointed. Each proposed location will have a CAC. The CAC for the casino proposal in Manhattan Community District 6 will be comprised of individuals as follows:
- Someone appointed by Governor Kathy Hochul
- Someone appointed by Mayor Eric Adams
- Someone appointed by Borough President Mark Levine
- Someone appointed by State Senator Kristen Gonzalez
- Someone appointed by Assembly Member Harvey Epstein
- Someone appointed by Council Member Keith Powers
The CAC will have to hold at least two public hearings. And their meetings must be open to the public and adhere to the Open Meetings Law.
Two-thirds of the members of the CAC must approve the application, in an open meeting, for it to advance to the GFLB for review. That means that if 3 members of the CAC vote against the casino license application, then the application will not proceed. There is nothing the GFLB can do to revive it, and there is nothing the applicant can do to appeal the decision.
Once applications are submitted, the GFLB will publish application materials online.
Casino License Selection Milestones
Projected early February 2024
Posting of answers for 2nd round of questions.
Projected early February 2024
Application period opens.
30 days after posting of second round of answers
CACs are appointed.
CAC Public Hearing #1
CAC Public Hearing #2
Additional CAC Public Hearings (optional)
CAC vote. If the vote fails, then the application process does not advance any further.
If the CAC vote is successful, there are several more steps before a proposed casino becomes reality. It must complete the NYC zoning process, it must complete Gaming Facility Location Board review, and it must have a review by the Gaming Commission that determines if the applicant meets established statutory licensure criteria, to name a few.
CB6’s Role in the Casino License Awarding Process
CB6 plays an advisory role on this issue. While CB6 does not have the power to greenlight or veto any casino proposal, we have the power to express the views of our district residents. To that end, in March 2023 CB6 passed a resolution opposing the siting of a casino anywhere in Manhattan Community District 6. Additionally, CB6 also passed a resolution calling for the original development plans for the lot in question (on the east side of First Avenue, between East 38th Street and East 41st Street) to be adhered to.
Additionally, CB6 fulfilled its duty to comment on the Gaming Facility Text Amendment, a Citywide Text Amendment that seeks to change the zoning code to introduce gaming facilities as of right within specified zoning districts across the city, bypassing the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) and diminishing the role of community boards and the public in the casino location review process. Under current zoning, casinos are not permitted in Manhattan Community District 6. If the Gaming Facility Text Amendment passes, then that obstacle to building a casino would be removed. For that reason, in January 2024 CB6 passed a resolution opposing the Gaming Facility Text Amendment, and urging the City Planning Commission to reconsider and withdraw this proposal.
Your Role in the Casino License Awarding Process
Residents of our district also have a role in this process. If you are not sure how you can advocate for your position on the proposed casino, you can do the following:
- If you are represented by Council Member Powers, Senator Gonzalez, and/or Assembly Member Epstein, contact their offices and urge them to appoint a member to the Community Advisory Committee that reflects your views on the proposed casino.
- Contact Borough President Levine, Mayor Adams, and Governor Hochul, and urge them to appoint a member to the Community Advisory Committee that reflects your views on the proposed casino.
- Contact the mayor, your borough president, and council member and ask them to vote in accordance with your views on the Gaming Facility Text Amendment.
- When the City Planning Commission holds its public hearing on the Gaming Facility Text Amendment, submit written or oral testimony to express your views.
- Once there are dates for CAC public hearings, attend so that you can express your views.
- If you have questions about the casino license awarding process, contact email@example.com
On Thursday, February 22nd, Senator Liz Krueger will hold a Virtual Town Hall on The Impact of Casinos on Urban Communities. The event will explore the casino siting process, the fiscal and economic impacts of gaming institutions, and their impact on individuals, businesses, and the surrounding community. Register for the town hall here.
For your convenience, Senator Kristen Gonzalez has compiled the contact information of all the elected officials that will appoint a member of the CAC:
- Governor Kathy Hochul: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mayor Eric Adams: https://www.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/mayor-contact.page
- Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine: email@example.com
- Senator Kristen Gonzalez: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Assembly Member Harvey Epstein: email@example.com
- Council Member Keith Powers: firstname.lastname@example.org