Sands, Bally’s, Wynn Seek NYC Casino Licenses

A mid-March article revealed that New York City will issue three gaming licenses in 2021. Three major contenders are throwing their hats in the ring, though only Sands officials have spoken publicly about the company’s interest in receiving a New York casino license. The licenses in question would allow gambling companies to operate casinos in lower Hudson Valley, Long Island, and New York City.

Inside Grand Central Station in New York City, New York, US.

Three leading gambling companies are competing for a single available license in New York. ©jplenio/Pixabay

A Report Reveals Gambling Heavy-Hitters Are Looking To NY

An early March article from The New York Post revealed that multiple leading gambling companies best-known for their businesses in Las Vegas are considering beginning business operations in New York. Three leading gambling companies, Wynn, Sands, and Bally’s, are reportedly competing for a single available NYC gambling license.

An NYC License, An Albany Location

The casino companies are reportedly seeking out a New York City gambling license, though the race was set off via the announcement that the city of Albany, the capital of New York state and not located within NYC, is reportedly hoping to begin the proposal process to open its own casino in the near future.

Three Licenses Are Available, Two Already Claimed

New York City reportedly plans to issue three licenses to operate gambling, but two have already been claimed by local and preexisting gambling locations: Empire City Casino, a retail location owned by MGM Resorts and located in Yonkers, and Resorts World Aqueduct, a racino located in Queens.

The Race Is On?: Only Sands Acknowledges Interest

As such, the competition has been set into motion, though only Sands CEO Robert Goldstein has publicly acknowledged the company’s hopes to acquire a NYC license. Representatives from Wynn and Bally’s have neither confirmed nor denied that they are hoping to compete for the final available license.

Since January, Sands has been forthright in stating that the company hopes to secure a license to operate in New York City. Goldstein reportedly first expressed interest in moving into New York during a call with Sands investors early in 2021, emphasizing a desire to help the financially struggling city of Albany to recover from COVID-19.

Sands Emphasizes It Isn’t Leaving The US

The early months of 2021 saw significant upheaval for Sands, beginning with the passing of its founder and longtime CEO, Sheldon Adelson, which saw him replaced with now-acting CEO Robert Goldstein. A short time later, the company formerly known around the world as Las Vegas Sands Corporation made a groundbreaking announcement.

In early March, 2021, the freshly-renamed Sands Corporation announced that it would be selling off its two Las Vegas casinos and leaving Sin City to focus on more lucrative markets. The announcement dealt the city of Las Vegas yet another hard blow in an unforgiving year, and came with references to concentrating on Sands’ Asian business.

Sands Explores Other US Markets

Despite leaving Las Vegas, Sands is disproving a now-widely-held belief that the company may abandon its business in the US entirely to focus on its operations in places like Macau and Singapore. Rather, Sands is actively pushing for legal casino operations in Texas, and reportedly hopes to build up to four casinos in the Dallas area, should the law pass.

Why Only Three Licenses Available?

In 2013, New York state authorized a total of seven gambling licenses to be issued, which would mean that a maximum of seven casinos could be tolerated within the state. Four casinos in upstate New York were swiftly awarded licenses, and regulators soon placed a moratorium on the remaining three licenses, which was supposed to last until 2023.

Then came the COVID pandemic. In January 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed that he would be amenable to the idea of ending the moratorium early, a stance pushed by the overwhelming financial hardship in parts of New York like Albany, the city now seeking to build a casino in large part to offset COVID-19-related losses.

Some Push For Manhattan Casino; Others Say Impossible

In late January, companies and politicians in New York (including, most prominently, aspiring NYC mayor Andrew Yang) pushed for a casino located in Manhattan, an option many have long considered impossible. Yang has publicly suggested the possibility of building a casino on Governors Island, located a ferry ride out of the city.

Others, like Vornado Realty Trust, has pushed for a casino in Manhattan proper, near Herald Square, while L&L Holding Company is angling for a casino at its property at 47th Street and Broadway. Political proponents of a Manhattan casino have emphasized the significant economic strife hitting New York, which could be as much as a $15 billion deficit.

Manhattan Casino Conversation Continues, But Albany Comes First

The casino inspiring this latest push for licensing, however, will not be in NYC. At present, the three major gambling companies are seeking licensure to operate in Albany, a city located on the western side of the scenic Hudson River and home to close to 100,000 residents .

Could Be Slowed By Ongoing Political Drama

It’s possible that Governor Cuomo’s aspirations to expedite the licensing process could be curtailed due to the fact that citizens and politicians alike have been publicly calling for the Governor’s resignation following multiple reports of sexual misconduct perpetrated by the New York State official.

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The Brooklyn Bridge at night in New York City, New York, US.

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