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Mixed views on New York’s Water Club casino proposal

Mixed views on New York’s Water Club casino proposal

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As many as 30 interested parties, including big hitters such as Bally’s, Hard Rock, Las Vegas Sands and Wynn, have shown interest in becoming New York’s first casino with live gaming, submitting requests for further information to the State Gaming Commission last Autumn.

New York has a moratorium on adding any new casinos until the end of 2023, but Governor Kathy Hochul (Democrat) wants to accelerate this process, and award three downstate licenses this year. The downstate are includes New York City itself.

At present, the state has only four commercial casinos and none are in the city. The Empire City Casino in Yonkers, Resorts World in Queens and Jake’s 58 on Long Island offer only slots, electronic games and off-track sports betting. Neither these nor the casinos operated by Native American tribes offer live table games, and Governor Hochul is naturally keen to exploit the enormous revenue generating opportunity.

But not all local residents are keen to cash in. One independent submission has come from The Water Club, an upmarket restaurant and events venue that is moored on the East River, in Kips Bay. This proposal is for a 24,000sqft casino, with 450ft of open deep-water pier for additional gaming space. And speaking at a local meeting last week, Community Board Member, Anton Mallner said: “There should not be a casino there, and I am not even happy that the Water Club is there.”

However, fellow Board Member, Daniel Devine, believes that casinos are the economic engine needed to compete with major cities like Hong Kong, Madrid and Singapore. “I would love for it to be in our district,” he said. “We really have to think about the long-term viability of the tax base in New York.”