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New York Budget Affirms Plans for Downstate Casinos

Lawmakers in the Empire State have recently unveiled a budget that gives a clear overview of the state’s long-awaited gambling expansion. According to some clauses of the budget, the state is now fast-tracking the procedure that will see to the launch of up to three Las Vegas-style commercial gaming venues. It will start with a bidding process.

Bids will likely come from several high-profile gaming brands and corporations who have always shown interest in extending their footprint in the region. The fees for the bidding process start at a whopping $500 million (£384 million/€459 million). This exciting development for the state’s gambling sector comes a decade after seven commercial casinos went live, four of which were in upstate New York.

As always, the state is looking for as much input as possible as it embarks on this ambitious endeavor. That said, a six-member community advisory group will be involved in the decision-making process for the proposed locations. The input from local communities will be vital, especially considering that the site of the sitting review board would be decided by a majority vote.

To ensure the bidding and selection process is just and open, the legislature will maintain a keen eye on everything. The Gaming Commission and the Hochul Administration will work together to accomplish this as efficiently as possible.

High Hopes for Expanded Gambling

Depending on where the successful casino operators end up, they will be subject to local zoning laws. This means that they can expect a minimum tax rate of 25% on slot machines and 10% on table games. The plan for all this revenue that will be coming to state coffers is to fund gaming addiction education and treatment programs.

Besides the tax revenue, we also expect that the gambling venues will contribute a lot more to the community. This is especially with regards to job opportunities. It will all start with the construction jobs at the proposed venues. Later once the casinos go live, we expect the sector to create even more job opportunities within the gambling venues.

The prominent New York Hotel and Gaming Trades Council, which represents 37,000 hotel and casino workers, was among those advocating for the approval of the casino plans. Many of these workers are yet to return to work owing to the pandemic-related tourism downturn. It is therefore clear that there is a lot more hanging on the state’s gambling industry than we could have imagined.

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