A set of zoning changes recently released by Mayor Eric Adams’ administration would provide for casino developments in multiple areas of the New York City. As reported by Crain’s New York Business, these changes are designed to facilitate three gambling site developments in and around the five boroughs, with each of these sites set to generate $2 billion in annual revenues.
New Zoning Proposal:
The zoning proposal announced on 23 November 2023 would bar casinos in residential areas but allow their developments in medium-to-high-density commercial districts and manufacturing zones of the city. According to Crain’s, the plan also allows casino-related facilities such as hotels and restaurants and has no limitations in respect of the casino size.
Avoiding Excessive Paperwork:
As the latest proposal deviates from the initial plan, the Adams administration reportedly said that few restrictions on the upcoming casino developments are aimed to help casino bidders avoid redundant bureaucracy. According to the source, casino bids will be subjected to the state’s extensive review anyway, including the binding votes of a six-member council composed of local officials.
The zoning plan is criticized by urban planners. George Janes, a consultant of several community boards, reportedly said that ‘’the blanket permission provided by the city’s proposal is striking.’’ As reported by Crain’s, Gail Benjamin, a member of the City Planning Commission, said that the language of the proposal could allow developers to use hotels, otherwise heavily restricted in the city, for casinos.
Casino Location Concerns:
The new zoning plan will reportedly not affect any of the nine casino license bidders’ plans. According to the source, the subject locations are well within the proposal with only Steve Cohen’s bid in Queens and the Bally’s proposal in the Bronx requiring permits to build on parkland. However, without the citywide zoning change, all nine casino bids would reportedly have to be reviewed separately before even being considered by the state.
After the prospective approval of the City Council, the casino proposals will reportedly be reviewed by the six-member community advisory council. If winning at least four votes, each casino bid will reach the state’s Gaming Facility Location Board which will review each project’s potential for economic development before making the final decision.
No Applications Received:
As Crain’s reports, the selection process is slowly advancing but the state has received no applications yet. A state board has recently answered all procedural questions from applicants, with another round of questions yet to follow. For this reason, the source expects that the decision on the casino license applications will extend well into next year. Each new casino is reportedly expected to generate $2 billion in annual revenues.