Council and DCP Announce Upcoming Proposed Casino Zoning Text Amendment

Image credit: New York City Council.

On October 6, 2023, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Department of City Planning Director Dan Garodnick released a joint statement regarding a future casino zoning text amendment that will enter the public review process later this year. 

Currently, the only casino within city limits is the Resorts World New York City casino in Ozone Park, Queens. That casino also includes a race track. Commercial casinos, or traditional casinos that do not also feature a race track, are limited in how many can be built in the state; in 2013, the state’s constitution was amended to allow up to seven commercial casinos to be built statewide. Four of these casinos have already been created. The remaining three have yet to be determined. The siting process for these three licenses is determined by the Gaming Facility Location Board, but applicants must first get approval from a local Community Advisory Committee and successfully navigate the local zoning process. 

The six-person Community Advisory Committee will gauge local support for the project. For projects built within New York City, the committee will consist of the Governor, Mayor, and the applicable State Senator, Assemblymember, Borough President, and City Councilmember. The committee must solicit and review public comments and hold public meetings. After, the Community Advisory Committee must hold a vote and get two-thirds to approve to establish public support for the application. 

Even with an affirmative vote, an application in New York City would still need to successfully pass zoning requirements to be considered by the Gaming Facility Location Board, but the current land use regulations do not contain provisions dealing with casino siting review. This proposal would create that framework. 

According to the statement, “Casinos have the potential to bring jobs and economic opportunities to New Yorkers, but applicants within New York City are at a disadvantage today because the city does not currently have a mechanism in our land use regulations to properly review casino siting. To ensure New York City applicants are not at a competitive disadvantage, the Department of City Planning and City Council will consider a standalone citywide zoning change that allows them to be judged within the guidelines of the state’s statutory process for considering casino license proposals.”

The proposal is expected to enter the public review process before the end of 2023. 

CityLand will follow this story for future updates. 

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the Editor of CityLand and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)



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