The state Gaming Commission is seeking proposals to open up to three casinos in the New York City region — a move that is expected to draw interest from the nation’s largest casino operators.
State officials Wednesday issued a “request for expressions of interest” to gauge the market for casinos in the downstate region — a precursor to accepting official bids. Proposals are due December 10.
Two of the three licenses could go to gaming properties that have already been OK’d to run slot machines in the area: the Genting-owned Resorts World Aqueduct Casino in Queens and the MGM Resorts-owned Empire City Casino in Yonkers.
Malaysian-based Genting recently opened a hotel at Aqueduct and expanding to a full-fledged casino to include card games has always been part of its plans.
The Post previously reported that Bally’s Corp., Wynn Resorts, and Las Vegas Sands are all quietly positioning themselves to compete for a New York City-area casino license.
The casinos could be located anywhere in New York City, Nassau-Suffolk in Long Island and Westchester-Rockland-Putnam counties north of the city.
But there’s strong opposition among Manhattan lawmakers from opening a casino in Midtown or other parts of New York County.
“The Commission is seeking information to develop a better understanding of interest in the unawarded commercial casino licenses and, if there is interest, what factors should be considered by the State in the development of a process to award such licenses,” the Gaming Commission in the RFI issued Wednesday.
“Accordingly, the Commission is issuing this document to draw input from interested and affected parties.”
The Post has reported that casino operators were scouting sites including Willets Point in Queens, where new Mets owner Steve Cohen leases the Citi Field ballpark and adjoining parking lots; the Belmont Park development in Long Island, which is already home to the Belmont Park racetrack and a new Islanders hockey arena and Staten Island’s St. George neighborhood — home to the Staten Island Ferry.
A recent study conducted by the New York State Gaming Commission estimated that opening three new downstate casinos — which include the conversions of Aqueduct and Yonkers and opening a new casino in Manhattan — could generate between $420 million and $630 million in revenues per year.
Under state law, the gaming commission can look at opening casinos downstate after approving a network of casinos upstate in an effort to boost economic development, a policy pushed by ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo.