Resorts World New York Promises $1B in Taxes if it Wins Casino Permit

Genting Malaysia Bhd, which runs Resorts World New York, said the venue could deliver $1 billion or more in annual taxes to the state if it’s granted a permit to convert the property to a Las Vegas-style casino hotel.

Slots players at Resorts World New York City in Queens. Operator Genting is pledging $1 billion or more in taxes to New York if it wins a downstate casino license. (Image: The New York Times)

The Malaysian conglomerate is one of a slew of gaming companies vying for three downstate casino licenses New York regulators are expected to award late next year. Currently a slots-only venue in Queens, Resorts World New York paid $600 million in taxes to the state last year, a spokesman told Bloomberg.

Should it be granted one of the three downstate licenses, Genting would continue paying a 67% levy to New York on its gaming device revenue, but the operator would pay a lower percentage on table games such as blackjack and roulette. Those games and other table offerings are currently forbidden at Resorts World New York and MGM Resorts International’s Empire City Casino in Yonkers.

Due to their established footprints in the New York metro area, Empire City and Resorts World New York are widely viewed as two of the top contenders for a pair of three downstate licenses, but no regulators have confirmed as much as of yet.

Resorts World New York Facing Queens Competition

Genting’s comments that its Queens gaming venue could deliver $1 billion or more in receipts to cash-strapped New York come as rivals are ramping up efforts to land gaming permits there, including in the same borough.

New York Mets owner and hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen is partnering with Hard Rock International — the gaming unit of Florida’s Seminole Tribe — to develop Metropolitan Park. That’s an $8 billion proposal for rejuvenating the area near Citi Field and includes plans for a casino hotel.

The Mets’ stadium is about 15 minutes from Resorts World New York and regulators haven’t commented on whether or not they support the idea of two casinos in one borough. The Cohen/Hard Rock plan could be doomed if State Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-Queens) doesn’t introduce legislation to remove the parkland designation from the property being pitched as a casino site.

For its part, Genting is being proactive. In addition to the $1 billion tax pledge, the company said in February it would allocate $5 billion to Resorts World New York to enhance the property and convert it to a traditional casino should it one of the permits.

Resorts World New York Might Have Advantages

While Genting is the lone foreign company competing for one of the three New York City casino licenses, it might have a leg up on domestic competition.

In addition to the $1 billion tax promise and the $5 billion spending plan, Resorts World New York has been operational for nearly 13 years. Over that time, it’s earned a reputation for being one of the highest-grossing slots venues in the country, meaning New York regulators are familiar with the property’s tax-generating capabilities.

Since opening, Resorts World New York has generated over $4 billion in taxes for the state. Genting also operates two casinos in upstate New York.

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