Racino operators at Aqueduct and Yonkers were expected to put in bids of at least $500 million each to try to win the right to open any of three new casinos in and around New York City, according to media reports this week.
The state Gaming Facility Location Board in New York approved the terms of engagement Tuesday. It opened the bid process for the three licenses lasting at least 10 years plus a requirement to invest another $500 million in the building of each casino.
Bidders have until Feb. 3 to declare their interest and send in questions to start the process. Some already have done so in what is expected to be a high-level competition between some of the biggest names in the worldwide gambling industry.
In return for the licenses, the state will get 25 percent of each casino’s hold on slot machines and 10 percent from other forms of gaming.
The three added licenses would bring to five the number of casinos in and around New York City.
Resorts World New York City was christened in 2011 at Aqueduct. Revenue from the racino operated by the Genting Group of Malaysia has been credited for helping to boost purses significantly at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga.
Yonkers had a similar infusion thanks to its Empire City Casino, which opened in 2006 at the track just outside the Bronx and is owned by MGM.
Not only were Genting and MGM expected to be among the suitors making bids for the new licenses, they were widely seen as having an advantage. An October report in the New York Post said Gov. Kathy Hochul and her fellow Democrats in the state legislature wrote language into the upcoming budget giving an edge to bidders who already had experience in operating gaming establishments in the state.
As for competing bidders, Bally’s, Hard Rock International, Las Vegas Sands, Rush Street Gaming, UE Resorts International, the Wager Club and Wynn Resorts already have written proposals to the state, according to Politico.