The process initially anticipated to kick off this month might face a significant delay, according to recent reports. In a twist of events, the commencement of the bidding process for three new downstate New York casino licenses may stretch beyond the first quarter of this year. Initial speculations hinted at a January launch, but as the month passes, it seems less likely. The possibility of this saga extending into the first quarter of 2025. A recent report from Newsday, tapping into the wisdom of industry insiders, suggests a potential one-year extension in the licensing timeline. If proven true, this means a more protracted waiting game for casino enthusiasts and operators eagerly eyeing these licenses.

The next anticipated move involves the Gaming Facility Location Board. Their task is to release responses to questions posed by eager casino bidders. Questions from the first round surfaced in August, while the second round, awaiting responses since October, adds to the suspense. Once released, a 30-day window will open for aspiring casino operators to make their moves.

Beyond the Q&A sessions, casino hopefuls face another hurdle—clearing zoning-related matters. A proposed plan by Mayor Eric Adams aimed to streamline this process but encountered resistance from Community Boards, adding a layer of complexity to an already intricate situation.

A potential delay shouldn’t come as a shock, especially since the much-anticipated license fees failed to secure a spot in the fiscal 2024-2025 budget. This budget, outlining revenue plans until March 31, 2025, highlights the financial gap New York may experience if the licenses aren’t swiftly awarded.

Early estimates hinted at a substantial $500 million license fee per casino, translating to an extra $1.5 billion for the state. The fiscal 2025 Budget, disclosed recently, casts a shadow not just on casino licensing but also on the prospects of online casinos. Despite legalization efforts, the $233 billion budget maintains a conspicuous silence on the matter, leaving lawmakers skeptical about the future of iGaming in the state.

As the downstate New York casino licensing saga unfolds, uncertainty prevails. The process, initially expected to be swift, now faces the challenges of unanswered questions, zoning battles, and missing funds in the budget. Only time will reveal whether New York will overcome these hurdles and welcome a new era of gaming.

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