State Meets Deadline by Naming 3 Members to Downstate Casino Board

State Meets Deadline by Naming 3 Members to Downstate Casino Board
By Lou Monaco
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

The process for selecting downstate casinos in the Empire State took a major step on Monday as the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) announced the approval and selection of three additional members to the state’s Gaming Facility Location Board (GFLB).

This comes on the heels of a wildly successful implementation of sports betting in New York on Jan. 8.

The new members of the board are:

Quenia A. Abreu: Abreu is currently President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce. The non-profit organization is dedicated to empowering and fostering economic development for women and minorities throughout the state. Abreu was born in the Dominican Republic and grew up in New York City. She has a BS degree in marketing and international trade from the Fashion Institute of Technology and is a graduate of the Executive Education Program from The University of Chicago’s School of Business.

Vicki L. Been: Been is the Boxer Family Professor of Law at New York University as well as an affiliated Professor of Public Policy of the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and the Faculty Director of NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. She also has held executive positions for New York City.

Stuart Rabinowitz: Rabinowitz is the former president of Hofstra University, selected by the Board of Trustees in December 2000. He served until his retirement in 2021. He also was the dean of the Hofstra University School of Law from 1989 through June 2001. Rabinowitz also served on the New York Gaming Facility Location Board in 2014-15.

Each of the members serve without any compensation. They are required to live in New York and have at least 10 years’ experience in fiscal matters.

What Will New Board Do?

By state law, the majority of the members of the GFLB had to be appointed by Tuesday, Oct. 4.

The GFLB now has 90 days to issue a Request for Applications (first week of January 2023), which will start the formal bidding process.The RFA will include appropriate deadlines for the process, including questions, submissions, amendments, etc.

The New York State budget passed earlier this year by the legislature provided for three downstate gaming licenses.

Currently, there are four upstate casinos in New York, which have retail sports betting. Those casinos are Rivers Casino in Schenectady, Del Lago in Waterloo, Resorts World Catskills in Monticello and Tioga Downs in Nichols.

There are no New York online casinos in the state.

There is, however, iGaming in the bordering states of New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

Those states, as well as Delaware, Michigan and West Virginia, have mobile slots as well as table games such as roulette, blackjack and poker.

What’s Next?

Three items still to be determined by the GFLB are:

What is the Minimum Capital Investment Requirement: The Board will determine the minimum capital investment requirement and also will consider whether it can include the price of the land where the facility would be located.

What will the License Fee be? The Board will determine the fee for a new license, which will be no less than $500 million (as required by law).

What will be the Tax Rate be? Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) for a downstate casino will be taxed at a rate TBD by the NYSGC as part of the competitive application process. An applicant can propose a tax rate on GGR as part of its application, so long as the tax rate is at least 25% for slot gross gaming revenue and 10% for gross gaming revenue from all other sources.

Before the Board can review an application, an applicant must provide the following:

  • Prove they have acquired public support via approval of the applicable Community Advisory Committee (CAC)
  • Meet all compliance/approvals with all state and local zoning requirements
  • Pay a $1 million application fee to the Gaming Commission

Stay tuned to EmpireStakes.com for developments on downstate casinos, as well as for the best NY betting promos.

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Contributors

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 (NJ.com) 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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