Politico Reveals New York’s Casino License Bidders Have Spent Over $7.2 Million Lobbying Officials and Politicians

More individuals and companies are gaining interest in constructing New York’s next casinos. Reports state that some of them are determined to develop community coalitions with officials and politicians as they are key decision-makers that will determine who will construct new gaming venues in the state.

Politico’s Stunning Revelation

Politico states that some lobbying firms have spent more than $7.2 million in the last 14 months on 10 Metro Area casino proposals. They reached out to the decision-makers representing leading casino companies like Caesars Entertainment and Bally’s Corporation. Still, some firms have represented competing customers.

The lobbyists have spent large sums of money on consulting, public relations, and political strategies. This was possible since the law doesn’t need them to disclose such contracts to the public, unlike lobbying deals.

Mark Levine, Manhattan Borough President said in an interview that there is a high likelihood of each lobbyist having a gaming client. Besides, one of the bids might be among the leading public campaigns, and New York City was unexpected to have ten such campaigns running concurrently. This has never happened before in the city.

CBRE, a local real estate firm, indicates that a local casino can rake in $2 billion annually in gaming revenue. So, it can make up to $600 million in profit.

Does This Competitive Process Have Particular Deciders?

New York’s Gaming Facility Location Board chooses winners first, and the New York Gaming Commission receives their suggestions. A license applicant has to win the local Community Advisory Committee’s support.

It constitutes Borough President, the governor, the state Senator, a local city council member, and the mayor. Also, the applicant should convince four or more members to back up their project.

What Are Investors Competing for?

The state launched its bidding process for three downstate gaming licenses in January. The favorites are two racinos in Yonkers and Queens, and they are likely to add more limited services. Eight more racinos will compete for the last license.

New York requires every bidder to pay at least $500 million as a compulsory entry fee to venture into its gaming market. Yet, it might take a few years to complete the selection process.

MGM Resorts and Genting Group Are Among the Leading Bidders

Politico says that Genting Group has a high probability to receive a casino license since it has spent $2.7 million on lobbyists to upgrade Resorts World. The company has operated the gaming site at the Aqueduct Race Track in Queens for several months.

MGM Resorts International and its Yonkers gaming venue also have better odds of getting a license. So, the remaining bidders will compete for the third license. They include Mohegan, Wynn Resorts, and Caesars Entertainment.

Bally’s Corporation is interested in a Bronx golf course as Steve Cohen, the Mets’ owner, plans to develop a Queens casino. Moonshot is among the seven firms that have spent more than $680,000 on the city’s gambling officials.

John Kaehny, Reinvent Albany’s executive director, informed Politico that interested parties are spending large sums of money on politicians to get their support. They also target governmental members who will review their casino proposals.

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