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Construction workers build the Hard Rock Casino sign as we look at a new date for licensing casinos in downstate New York.
Construction workers build the Hard Rock Casino sign in Rockford, Ill. Photo by Kara Hawley/Rockford Register Star/USA Today Network.

New York lawmakers are taking the next step toward creating a legal retail casino market downstate in regions that include New York City and its surrounding areas. Some of our best sports betting sites and best real money online casinos will want to be in on the action.

On Thursday, the New York Gaming Facility Location Board met and approved a June 27, 2025, deadline for applications for coveted gambling licenses in the region.

Under Senate Bill 9673A, which was authored by legal gambling proponent Senator Joseph Addabbo and passed by the state House and Senate earlier this month, that date was originally set at Aug. 31, 2024. After some discussion, the Board decided on a broader timeline so the expected multibillion-dollar bids could be adequately created and vetted.


Brick and mortar casinos were legalized in New York in 2013, when residents of the state voted in favor of, via an amendment of the state constitution, four upstate and 3 downstate casinos. Under the rules of that time, the launch of downstate gambling facilities were to be delayed for 10 years in order to give the upstate properties a chance to establish themselves.

Ten years have passed and there is still no retail gambling facility in or around New York City.

While the Aug. 31, 2024 timeline for applications may have sped things along, there is common sentiment that more time was needed that was given under Sen. Addabbo’s plan. As board member Stuart Rabinowitz said, an early deadline “would put some potential applicants under a lot of pressure and would favor some and disfavor others.”  

His thoughts were echoed by Chair Vicki Bee who said, "This timeline encompasses all legal requirements that potential bidders must meet before we may evaluate applications. This roadmap also gives communities ample opportunity to have their voices heard, establishes a level playing field among multiple competitors, and affords serious applicants the opportunity to participate in a lucrative and transformational process.”


Applications for a coveted downstate casino license will be required to be submitted in late June, 2025, at which point, each applicant will be assigned a “Community Advisory Committee.” It is a six-person panel that will consist of Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, the borough president in which the casino hopes to operate, an applicable state senator, assemblyperson, and city councilor for the affected region.

Each applicant must satisfy all requirements by that Community Advisory Committee by Sept. 30, 2025, before the panel considers the applicant and ultimately rules on their possible licensing by Dec. 1, 2025. 

Land use permits and zoning requirements would have to be satisfied, along with the completion of all entitlement processes

Each successful applicant would, if it passes the vetting process, be required to pay a $500 million licensing fee in order to take the next step toward launching downstate.

Hence, the application delay in the state.

Who is in on downstate New York?

There will likely be a fierce battle for the three downstate commercial casino licenses in New York. Already, 11 operators are reported to be seeking one of the coveted spots in New York City, which could include possible casino locations in Times Square, Manhattan, or Long Island.

Bally’s, Caesars, MGM Resorts, Hard Rock, Las Vegas Sands, and Mohegan, among others, are rumored to be in the mix. All have the experience and the deep pockets to satisfy all of the requirements to become part of New York City's perhaps transformational legal retail gambling scene.