Long Island is Building “Slots in the Box” Gaming Parlors As Upstate Awaits Casino Decision
Most of the press given to New York state’s domestic gambling industry has gone to the 16 casino license applications being considered for up to 4 casino-resorts in the state. Long before those lavish gaming establishments are considered, Long Island is likely to be making money from less showy gaming enterprises.
Long Island will be getting new electronic slot machines parlors in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. These parlors will house electronic slot machines called (with some derision) slots-in-a-box.
Nassau Regional OTB Corporation
The Nassau Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation is build a gaming venue complete with a thousand-strong gaming machines, which should be open by the end of 2015. The gaming hall, which also will include electronic baccarat and electronic roulette, is expected to generate about $150 million in net revenue each year.
Joseph Cairo, the President of Nassau OTB, says the windfall should be noticeable for the local governments. Cairo said, “We’re probably talking $19 million to $20 million going to the county each year, if that $150 million number is accurate.”
Citizens should be leery of officials and gaming executives making such predictions. Chris Christie predicted New Jersey would make $1 billion in net revenues from online gambling each year when he was trying to see an iGaming bill passed, but the net result in the first year was off by about $900 million. Still, most believe the Nassau projections are going to prove accurate.
Suffolk Regional OTB Corporation
The Suffolk Off-Track Betting Corporation is also planning a 1000-machine gaming parlor. In the case of the Suffolk establishment, it will contain 80,000 square feet of gaming space. Included at the complex will be restaurants and bars.
SOTB Corporation is just coming out of bankruptcy, but it appears headed towards a lucrative future. The Suffolk operation bought land for a new operation in October 2014, while choosing as a management partner Delaware North. The people at Delaware North manage the Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack in Farmington, New York, along with several other gaming operations.
Philip Nolan, president of Suffolk OTB, told the New York Times, “We’re looking to get a shovel in the ground as soon as we can.”
Slots in a Box on Long Island
So while the upstate casino initiatives is getting all the press, the Long Island off-track betting companies will bring gaming parlors to Long Island. In truth, the big Upstate New York land casinos and the slots parlors are joined together, at least in a legislative sense.
Cuomo and Skelos Make a Deal
When Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his desire to license casino operators for big casinos in the upstate region, he faced a major legislative battle. In the end, Cuomo needed Republican State Senator Dean G. Skelos of Long Island to get the casino bill passed, but Skelos wanted something out of the deal.
Just as Cuomo said he wanted to use gaming to help struggling communities in the north, Skelos wanted to bring gaming parlors to Long Island to help local counties raise funds. The two came to an arrangement, which allowed Dean Skelos to give his constituencies the smaller gaming parlors.
Bonacic Critical of OTB Plans
Republican State Senator John J. Bonacic, who chairs the Racing, Wagering and Gaming committee, told the NY Times, “Cuomo needed Skelos. I happen to think that the OTB business is a thing of the past.”
Philip Nolan doesn’t see it that way. He believes their slots in a box will be a big success in their part of the state. Nolan said, “We have an opportunity to attract a million plus people a year. We’re very certain we’re going to be successful.”
Update on Casino Licenses
New York’s siting panel announced three casino licenses, including one in all three sections of the state: the Albany area, the Upstate/Finger Lakes region, and the Catskills. Local land developers were preferred over the national and international gaming companies, while no casino was licensed for the Orange County area, which had been a controversial topics in the weeks and months leading up to the decision.
The Gaming Commission’s siting panel chose not to license a fourth operation, due to concerns about market saturation. The fourth license might still be awarded in the future, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has asked the siting panel to reconsider that particular decision.
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