What does it take to open a casino? We’re not even talking about an online casino here. Sure, creating one from scratch takes a serious amount of money. You need the servers. You need the staff. You need the software. You need licenses from international gambling authorities and testing associations. And you need a serious amount of cash to pay out winnings.
But this isn’t about online. This is about live casinos. And for that, you need the same, plus hundreds of millions of dollars to actually build a property.
New York State has decided to open up its market and add a few casino resort properties to specific areas of the state. If you want in, it’ll cost you. At least $71 million. And that’s before you even get the shovel in the ground. To apply for a license, you’ll need $1 million. And if you’re successful in getting a license, you’ll need to pony up another $70 million. That’s $70 million, not $7 million.
So don’t expect your average Joe to open up a casino in New York. Instead, expect the likes of Hard Rock, Empire Resorts, Penn National, the Flaum family real estate company, and the Mashantucket Pequot tribe and the Stockbridge-Munsee Indians to take part in the bidding process.
There’s a huge appetite for casino gambling in New York State. Right now, there are five Indian casinos in upstate New York, plus electronic slot machine parlors and racetracks dotting the amp. But the government is hoping that resort casinos can help transform hurting economies.
The government is exploring development in the Catskills, Western New York, and the Saratoga-Albany area. The development in the Catskills looks fairly promising to New York residents, but it could very well leave New Jersey in the cold.
Atlantic City is about a 2 hour’s drive from NYC. The Catskills is only slightly more. A weekend getaway at a resort casino in the Catskills might look way more appealing to New York City casino players than a weekend away in Atlantic City.
New Jersey might have to spend some serious money to upgrade their land-based casinos. Right now, their focus is on helping casinos make more profit through online gambling initiatives. Hopefully that revenue helps them upgrade their properties to compete against what’s about to arrive on the other side of the state border.