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Land-BasedLegal & RegulatoryIndustry

Adams administration suggests extra New York casino licence

The Adams administration has proposed extensive zoning changes to allow casino development across wide areas of New York City amid a competitive battle for three sought-after casino licences in the downstate region. The proposed changes would permit casinos in manufacturing districts and most low-density commercial areas, with no size restrictions and the option to include additional facilities like restaurants and hotels.

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Officials argue that these changes are crucial to streamlining regulations for winning casino licences, enhancing the city's competitiveness in a market where casinos are currently prohibited by zoning codes. Dan Garodnick, head of the Department of City Planning, emphasizes the need for a level playing field for city applicants.

While many bids focus on city locations for easy access to its 8.8 million residents, a notable proposal outside the city targets the Nassau Coliseum site on Long Island. Existing "racinos" at Aqueduct Racetrack and Empire City Casino are considered competitive due to their current casino footprints.

The proposed zoning changes must undergo the city's land use review process, involving approvals from community boards, Borough Presidents and Borough Boards, followed by nods from the City Planning Commission, City Council and the Mayor. Successful approval would exempt chosen casino projects from the typically lengthy and costly review process.

Before selection by the state Gaming Commission, proposals need two-thirds approval from a Community Advisory Committee, introducing a community input component that could affect bids facing local opposition, such as one in Coney Island.

Critics, including Layla Law-Gisiko from Manhattan Community Board 5, express concerns over the vague nature of the proposal, citing potential contradictions with existing zoning codes and a lack of specificity compared to past amendments. Law-Gisiko hopes for significant strengthening during the review process to address these issues.

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