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New York opens application window for downstate casino licenses

Ted Murphy

New York has opened bidding for three downstate casino licenses.

Major gambling companies are reportedly interested in building facilities on Long Island, in New York City and in Westchester County.

State Gaming Commission Chair Brian O'Dwyer said the new facilities will bring economic prosperity to their surrounding areas.

“This process can transform a community with capital investment, direct and construction employment, driving incremental tax reliefs,” O’Dwyer said at a state Gaming Facility Location Board meeting on Tuesday. “These projects can bring real change, not to talk about the fact of the number of employees that will be employed.”

The process is expected to generate billions of dollars for the state in license fees and revenue.

Each application has a minimum license fee of $500 million, but bids are expected to come in much higher.

O'Dwyer said all bids will be considered, countering claims recently published in the media that there were already front-runners.

“Despite the numerous articles and speculation that have understandably appeared in the last few weeks, no one enters into this process with an advantage,” O’Dwyer said to the board tasked with choosing which applicants will receive licenses. “I know that each of you will carefully weigh the many factors that will form your decision.”

Stuart Robinowitz, the former president of Hofstra University, is a member of the board. Despite formerly opposing a casino on Long Island, Robinowitz said he is supportive now.

Robinowitz said the request for application, which details the application process for potential bidders, was better than the version proposed in 2014.

"I'm fully supportive of what they have put together," Robinowitz said.

The bidding process is expected to run at least until the fall.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.