New York State Gaming Commission delays casino license process until late 2025


The state Gaming Commission created more drama for the high stakes competition for the three available casino licenses as the commission indicated last week that it wouldn’t issue any license, or even start accepting applications for the licenses at least until late 2025.

Although the State Legislature was hoping to have already started the bidding war by now, as that lawmaking body passed legislation in 2022 to expedite the licensing process. The state Gaming Commission was expected to provide further into these delays details on April 1.

The Las Vegas Sands In Uniondale, the site of the Nassau Coliseum, is one of 11 interested parties vying for one of the licenses.

The main reasoning behind the delay, according to the Gaming Commission’s Executive Director, Robert Williams, is that the timeline would allow for the approval of a citywide zoning change, which may happen in the next few weeks, and other regulatory hurdles that applicants are still in the process of trying to jump over.

There are also the complex and lengthy state environmental reviews that applicants are required to complete, while allowing for time for other required state or city zoning and land reviews to move forward in 2024.

“The Board is cognizant of the many factors relating to the zoning requirement, including New York City’s proposed text amendment relating to gaming facilities and of the many zoning-related questions posed by applicants during the first two rounds of questions,” Gaming Commission officials said in a statement.

“The updated timeline, expected to be finalized soon, will consider these and other factors,” the commission added.

The new timetable could be helpful to the applicants, who are in various stages of these regulatory measures. It’s possible that the new timetable could allow more time for Sands to work out specific issues, such as the Hofstra lawsuit against Nassau County when Judge Sakira Kapoor ruled back in November 2023 that the county violated both the state's Open Meetings Law and the State Environmental Quality Review Act, voiding the lease Sands signed with the county in May of that year and forcing Sands to start the entire process over.

The county, according to the ruling, failed to properly notify residents about the public meetings to discuss the possible lease transfer, pointing out that the agendas for those meetings did not even make mention of the Sands, the Nassau Coliseum, the Nassau Hub, or the proposed development.

The Sands is also in competition with New York Mets owner and Hard Rock International partner, Steve Cohen, to obtain the needed approvals from the state to build his proposed casino in the Citi Field parking lot in Queens.

Being so close it is unlikely that both casinos would be granted a license.