New York City Zoning Laws Now Permit Multiple Casino Locations

The latest zoning changes proposed by Mayor Eric Adams’ administration in New York City could pave the way for the development of multiple casinos in the area, with each site expected to generate $2 billion in annual revenues. The proposal, announced on November 23, 2023, would restrict casinos from residential areas but allow for their development in medium-to-high-density commercial districts and manufacturing zones.

The plan also permits the construction of casino-related facilities such as hotels and restaurants, with no specific limitations on the size of the casinos. The goal of these zoning changes is to streamline the process for casino developers and avoid excessive paperwork, as the Adams administration aims to reduce bureaucratic hurdles for potential bidders.

However, the proposal has faced criticism from urban planners and community boards, who fear that the blanket permission for casino development is too broad. They argue that this could open the door for developers to exploit loopholes and use hotels, which are heavily restricted in the city, for casino purposes.

Despite these concerns, the new zoning plan will reportedly not impact the nine casino license bidders’ plans, as their proposed locations are well within the boundaries of the proposal. Only two bids, including Steve Cohen’s in Queens and Bally’s in the Bronx, would require permits to build on parkland.

Once the City Council approves the proposals, a six-member community advisory council will review each bid, with the potential to reach the state’s Gaming Facility Location Board for final decision-making. Despite the progress in the selection process, the state has not yet received any applications, leading to delays in the decision on casino license applications, with the process expected to extend into the next year.

Overall, the zoning changes proposed by Mayor Adams’ administration aim to create opportunities for casino development in New York City, but concerns remain about the potential impact on the city’s landscape and community. The future of casino developments in the area will depend on the careful review and consideration of each proposal by local and state authorities.