The timeline for awarding three new casino licenses in downstate New York is expected to be significantly longer than initially anticipated. Industry insiders had previously speculated that the bidding process for the licenses would open sometime this month. However, with various outstanding processes and the month passing, it now seems less likely that the bidding will be launched during the first quarter of this year.

A new report from Newsday, citing industry insiders, suggests that the awarding of the downstate licenses may not happen until the first quarter of 2025. This points to a considerable extension of the expected timeline for the process.

The Gaming Facility Location Board is expected to release the answers to questions submitted by interested casino bidders. The first round of questions was released in August, and the second round, to which responses are yet to be released, began in October. Once the Board releases the responses, a 30-day window for bidders will open.

In addition to this process, casino license applicants must also address outstanding zoning issues. A proposal introduced by New York Mayor Eric Adams late last year aimed to expedite the casino approvals, but it faced opposition from Community Boards last month.

The potential delay in the licensing process is not unexpected, particularly as the license fees from the three casinos did not make it into the fiscal 2024-2025 budget. This means that New York stands to miss out on significant proceeds unless the three casino licenses are awarded. Early estimates predicted a license fee of $500 million per license, representing $1.5 billion in extra proceeds for the state if the licensing is expedited.

In addition to the delay in casino licensing, the FY 2025 Budget released by Gov. Kathy Hochul earlier this month did not include texts regarding the legalization of online casinos. Lawmakers believe that this omission may spell doom for the legalization of the activity, at least for this year.

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