A study ordered by the New York State Gaming Commission could set the stage for efforts to legalize online poker and other forms of gambling in the future.
The New York market study will look beyond the hot-button issue of sports betting, which was a focal point of the 2019 legislative session. The scope of work laid out in the request for proposal includes analyzing “the entire gaming industry in the state, inclusive of the fiscal, economic, and social implications of gaming.”
The Commission will select the company to conduct the study on Monday at its regular meeting. Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. recently told OPR that four companies submitted bids.
“I’m hoping this study gives us a blueprint for the entire gaming picture in our state so we can use it as a road map to go forward and expand gaming,” Addabbo said. “This is a comprehensive look at gaming in our state with an eye on the future.”
Considerations include the possibility of adding up to three more casinos downstate and bringing most forms of gambling — including the lottery — online. Lawmakers have found no success in their recent attempts to legalize NY online poker and expand the existing sports betting law to include mobile wagering.
The winning bidder will provide a detailed analysis of the NY gaming market, with a focus on:
In 2013, New York voters approved the construction of up to seven commercial casinos. In an attempt to bolster the upstate economy, the first four casinos were built upstate and a moratorium on further expansion was installed until 2023.
According to the American Gaming Association, NY gaming was a $2.59 billion industry in 2018. However, more than half of that total ($1.45 billion) was generated by two VLT facilities downstate.
In purchasing Empire City Casino in Yonkers earlier this year, MGM Resorts agreed to pay an extra $50 million if the VLT facility is awarded a full casino license before 2023.
Addabbo, whose district in Queens includes Resorts World NY, wants to see what the study recommends in terms of casino expansion.
“Maybe we’ll find a way to expedite those three licenses, so we’ll see,” Addabbo said. “I believe if the study is done correctly, it will be a useful took to make credible decisions statewide.”
The commission is pushing for a quick turnaround on the study to have the results ready to inform the next legislative session. After the commission chooses the winner on Aug. 12, work on the study is set to begin on Sept. 1.
The first draft is due on Nov. 29, with the final report turned in before the champagne comes out on New Year’s Eve.