BetMGM CEO Shows Cards on Downstate Casino Interest in New York Betting

BetMGM CEO Shows Cards on Downstate Casino Interest in New York Betting
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

MGM Resorts announced its Q1 2022 earnings report late Tuesday afternoon and is looking forward to pushing all its chips to the center of the New York betting table for a full-scale downstate casino license.

“Another opportunity that we're quite excited about is the pursuit of a commercial gaming license in New York,” said Bill Hornbuckle, CEO and president of MGM Resorts, during opening remarks of the call. “The recently enacted fiscal year 2023 budget includes provisions that will allow the issuance of up to three new licenses in the state. We’d like to thank Governor (Kathy) Hochul and the New York legislature for getting this important issue across the finish line.”

MGM Resorts owns and operates Empire City Casino in Yonkers, which also has a harness racetrack, and is 35 minutes from Manhattan.

“We're eager to begin the RFA process,” Hornbuckle said, “and share our vision for the future of the property in Yonkers, where if we receive a license, we plan to replace the existing VLTs with slot machines and have table games through our existing casino floor and construct new amenities on portions of our 97-acre site.

“Again, we're excited by this opportunity and look forward to investing this discipline in New York to create new jobs and foster economic growth in the region.”

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Where BetMGM Stands in New York and U.S.

BetMGM is now live in 23 markets, with New York, Illinois, Louisiana and Puerto Rico coming online in the first quarter and Ontario having just launched last month.

BetMGM Sportsbook New York became the state's fifth live mobile sports betting operator on Jan. 17.

It is now among the top four sportsbooks with FanDuel Sportsbook New York, DraftKings Sportsbook New York and Caesars Sportsbook New York.

In February, BetMGM had 24% market share in active markets in both U.S. sports betting and iGaming, which is No. 1 nationwide.

“As we know to date, the opening bid, and this is our — obviously, an RFP process is $500 million for license,” Hornbuckle added. “We know that tax is currently set at an opening minimum of 10 and 25, which is favorable. It's kind of interesting, we're talking about a $0.5 billion license fee as favorable. It's the highest in the history of the industry by five times.

“Having said that, we like where the governor went with it. We like the opportunity it creates. We had hoped to invest up to a couple of billion in the first round, Phase 1, to put us into the table games business, to expand some of the amenities and put a much-needed parking garage there to put an entertainment facility there and potentially some other things.

“We think that will attract the kind of market that's available to us both in the neighborhoods and the surrounding areas.”

How the Casino Process Moves Next

The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) is currently doing its due diligence for comprising a gaming facility location board, which must be formulated by Oct. 6.

That Board then will issue a request for applications (RFA) within 90 days of appointing members.

“Obviously, we like where we stand,” Hornbuckle said. “I think we've served that community (Yonkers) well and, in turn, they're prepared to support us. We're going to go like hell to make sure that the day this happens that slot machines are ready to go into the building. And we're going to flip out roughly 1,000 machines, give or take, to bring in tables as soon as we possibly can within months.

“And we're going to make an assessment on a parking facility . . . We had to ultimately get our head around the master plan, which we're working on diligently now. I wouldn't mind under any circumstance parking needs to be a real piece of this. But it's a couple of billion dollars, and we're going to be thoughtful about how quickly we do go when it's all said and done.”



Lou Monaco

Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media ( in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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