Published: November 28, 2023

NYC Agency Moves To Cut Red Tape For Casino Applications, Though Communities Could Be Cut Out

The Department of City Planning on Monday introduced a measure that it says would cut red tape for casino applications in the Big Apple — but which would ice out community boards, critics say.

The measure, which was quietly filed by the department on Friday, comes as big-name developers are vying for one of three Coveted downstate casino licenses from the state.

The action, formally known as a zoning text amendment, was billed as a way of streamlining city and state processes by City Planning Commissioner Dan Garodnick during A Monday Meeting.

"What we are proposing will create an even playing field for these facilities as they make their case for the economic benefits they aim to bring to New York City,” he said. "We are trying to set up a process here which just enables the conversation to happen in an organized way.”

The state decides who gets approved for a license. On the local level, the city’s Existing Land Review Procedures Are Inadequate For New Casinos, putting New York at a "competitive disadvantage,” Garodnick and City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said in October.

The Text Amendment would streamline review and allow for state-approved casinos to be developed "without any potential conflicts with zoning” or "unnecessarily duplicating” the state’s lengthy licensing process, Garodnick said.

Two of the downstate licenses are expected to go to Existing "racinos” in Yonkers and South Ozone, Queens, but there is stiff competition in New York City for the remaining slot.

Aside from the Queens racino, City Planning confirmed eight contenders across the boroughs: five in Midtown Manhattan, one in the Bronx at Ferry Point, one in Queens from Mets owner Steve Cohen and one in Brooklyn by Coney Island.


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