New York Casino and Card Room Gaming
In fall 2013, voters approved the expansion of commercial casino gaming in New York. Up to seven licenses will be awarded. In December 2014, three of the four upstate locations for casinos were selected. The upstate sites in Thompson (in the Catskills), Schenectady (near Albany) and Tyre (Finger Lakes) have a seven-year head start on the downstate sites in and near New York City.
The process to expand the gaming industry in New York began in spring 2012, when New York lawmakers proceeded with a plan to amend the state's constitution to allow commercial casinos. The legislation, referred to as the Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act of 2013, was originally submitted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The deal also authorized two 1,000-machine VLT centers on Long Island to be run by offtrack betting agencies in Suffolk and Nassau counties. It was estimated that ultimately the state could receive $1 billion annually from the casinos. Included in the agreement were a 25% tax levy on the casinos and a $500 fee on each slot machine and table game. In August, the Governor signed the bill, which moved it onto the fall ballot.
In 2012, new legislation was passed to extend the date for another year (April 2012 to April 2013) for VLT facilities to start capital projects. This change prompted the planning of several renovation projects: a hotel, garage and convention center at Tioga Downs Casino; a $27 million renovation and expansion of Batavia Downs Casino; a $12 million expansion at the Finger Lakes Casino & Raceway. In January 2013, the Empire City Casino Yonkers Raceway opened their 66,000-square-foot expansion, which included a 35,000-square-foot gaming floor and 700 VLTs.
The racino and commercial casino expansion is the latest in what has been a steady growth period for gaming in New York.
In 2004, four racetracks began offering VLTs along with pari-mutuel wagering. The impetus for adding VLTs at some New York State racetracks was Governor Pataki's goal to double New York's annual gambling revenue to $4 billion amid fears the state would encounter budget shortages.
In June 2005, Tioga County, which had previously banned VLTs, voted to allow them. Tioga Downs Racetrack opened a new gaming area featuring VLTs on 1 July 2006.
In June 2009, the state legislature legalized ETGs at racinos.
The Aqueduct Racetrack originally planned to open a new 4,500-machine gaming area in late 2007, but the plans were delayed by the slumping economy and an impasse in state legislation. In March 2010, new plans to bring VLTs to Aqueduct fell apart amid allegations of a corrupt bidding process. In June 2010, the state opened a more transparent bidding process, and in August 2010, Gov. David Paterson and legislative leaders gave Genting approval to operate 4,500 VLTs at Aqueduct Racetrack. The slot parlor, named Resorts World Casino New York City, opened in October 2011 with 2,300 VLTs and 200 ETGs. The facility added 1,200 VLTs and 400 ETGs in December 2011.
Del Lago Resort and Casino in Tyre opened on 1 February 2017. Rivers Casino and Resort opened on 8 February 2017.
New York's effective tax rate on slot and electronic table game machines is 67%, one of the highest in the nation.
In April 2019, a bid to lift a moratorium on new casino licenses that the state can issue before 2023 failed.
In April 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul approved three casino licenses despite the moratorium date of 2023.
New York Casino and Card Room Gaming Properties
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