Gambling is exploding in popularity and shows no signs of slowing down. According to the latest information released by the American Gaming Association, the revenue from gambling activities in the US for the second quarter of 2021 reached a whopping $13.6 billion.
When it comes to the legality of the pastime in the US, we cannot give a straightforward answer because every state has the power to craft its gambling laws. While some states legalized in-person gambling only, others decided to go all-in and regulate online gambling, either. In recent years, a growing number of casino fans in the US have started to use their portable devices to play their favorite games. If you are on the lookout for a gambling site that is compatible with your smartphone or tablet, you might find this listing of approved US mobile casinos quite useful.
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The Current Situation of the Gambling Industry in New York
New York is among the most populous states in America. Hence, it comes as no surprise that gambling proliferates across the Empire State. According to Statista, New York’s gross gaming revenue of casinos amounted to $1.18 billion in 2020. In October this year, it became clear that the state might soon award the three remaining casino licenses to interested operators. The news came after legislators expressed their willingness to lift a moratorium on new casinos in an attempt to boost the state’s economy.
Moratorium Bans Downstate NY Casino Until 2023
At the moment, playing at a land-based casino is the only legal form of gambling in New York. The state is home to four upstate casinos and sixteen federally-approved Indian gaming venues. According to section 9 of article 1 of the Constitution, New York can have up to seven upscale casinos. In other words, the state can issue three more casino licenses, allowing operators to open a casino in the downstate region. Until now, that was not possible because lawmakers imposed a moratorium on opening new casinos until 2023.
The idea behind this ban was to provide the four licensed casinos with time to develop their businesses. But the situation has dramatically changed since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic that left the Empire State struggling with a budget deficit of $15 billion. That paved the way for the addition of three new casinos in New York. According to the Vice President of Las Vegas Sands, the addition of three casinos would bring $1.5 billion to the state coffers.
Despite the well-funded pushes that came from reputable casino companies, ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo did not agree to lift the moratorium. According to an article on NY Post, the companies that are most likely to receive a license to establish casinos in New York are MGM, Genting, and Sand. Each of them came up with a different push and promised $500 million to the state for receiving a license, but none of them made Gov. Cuomo change his mind.
The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a huge budget gap. In an attempt to deal with the budget deficit, ex-Gov. Cuomo has started eyeing casino expansion. As part of the 2020 State of the State address, the former Governor has expressed his support for the legislation aimed at regulating the online sports betting industry.
Rules Are Likely to Change Soon
In October 2021, the New York Gaming Commission issued a request for expression of interest (RFI). Casino companies can submit their proposals until 10th December. The RFI is to determine the interest of casino operators in downstate region developments. Furthermore, it should collect proposals regarding the most appropriate locations for the casinos and their size.
Experts state that two of the New York land-based gaming venues, namely MGM and Genting are the main contenders for two of the unawarded licenses. Hard Rock also expressed interest in building a casino in New York City.
But NY legislator’s push to lift the moratorium stirred up the hornet’s nest. Manhattan lawmakers strongly opposed the idea of opening new casinos now. Manhattan Assemblyman Richard Gottfried explained that the opening of a casino in Manhattan will have a negative effect on the residential quality of life.
But the fact that the NY Gaming Commission has already launched a request for proposals means that New York will most likely award the three remaining licenses in the near future.