Streamlining regulations for winning casino licenses is crucial to enhance the city’s competitiveness in a market where casinos are currently not allowed by zoning codes. The Department of City Planning, led by Dan Garodnick, emphasizes the importance of a level playing field for all city applicants.

While many bids focus on city locations to cater to its 8.8 million residents, there is an interesting proposal for the Nassau Coliseum site on Long Island. The existing “racinos” at Aqueduct Racetrack and Empire City Casino are considered strong competitors due to their current casino footprints.

To make these proposed zoning changes, a thorough city land use review process is necessary. This process involves approvals from community boards, Borough Presidents and Borough Boards, as well as the City Planning Commission, City Council, and the Mayor. Successful approval would exempt selected casino projects from the usually lengthy and expensive review process.

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

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

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