Eric Adams Presents New Zoning Law Changes to Support Casino Applicants

New York City Mayor Eric Adams is making efforts to revise the city’s zoning laws in order to accommodate proposed casino hotel projects. Under the changes proposed by the Adams Administration, gaming venues could be situated in the city’s manufacturing districts and within most commercial areas regardless of size.

The city is considering a citywide zoning text amendment to allow gaming facilities as a permitted use in certain commercial and manufacturing districts in the Zoning Resolution. This modification would allow a gaming facility to be developed without regard to any potential conflict with the Zoning Resolution, as per a recent filing with the New York City Department of City Planning.

While the proposal still has several steps to go through before it can be put into effect, it shows Adams’ dedication to bringing casinos to the largest US city. The plan aims to streamline the bidding process for casino projects, which has been criticized for being inefficient, slow-moving, and potentially corrupt.

It is expected that the winning bidders could be announced next year, but the process may even continue into 2025. Adams’ efforts to alter zoning laws could help streamline the process, as some competing bidders have faced obstacles due to bureaucratic red tape and the designation of land on which they’d like to build casinos.

There is speculation that MGM Resorts International’s Empire City Casino in Yonkers and Resorts World New York in Queens will be two of the three winning bidders, as they are already established in the state. Resorts World New York was the highest-grossing gaming venue in the US outside of Nevada in the third quarter, while Empire City ranked eighth by that metric, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA).

However, there are other hurdles that gaming companies need to clear in their quest to obtain one of the downstate permits, including winning approval from community advisory committees in the areas in which they seek to operate. This could be challenging, as there is opposition in areas such as Coney Island, Nassau County, and Times Square to various casino plans.

Mayor Adams’ efforts to bring efficiencies to the casino bidding process are commendable, but it remains to be seen how successful the initiative will be in the face of other obstacles.