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Land Use, Housing & Zoning

Casinos in Manhattan CB5 District

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, December 8, 2022, the following resolution passed with a vote of 25 in favor; 3 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, New York Legislature approved plans for three downstate (New York, Nassau, Westchester) casino licenses in 2022 budget; and

WHEREAS, The New York State Gaming Commission approved the creation of a Gaming Facility Location Board (the “Board”) to determine the location and siting of up to three downstate New York casinos; and

WHEREAS, The Board is required to issue a formal request for application (“RFA”) by January 6th, 2023; and

WHEREAS, The process is set up so that community input is required before an application can be reviewed by State regulators; and

WHEREAS, A Community Advisory Committee made up of six members, one for the Governor, one for the Mayor, one for the State Senator, one for the State Assembly Member, one for the Council Member, one for the Borough President, must vote with 2/3 of the vote in favor of a casino at a proposed site; and

WHEREAS, The Board must determine the necessary fees and public investments required of potential casino site hosts; and

WHEREAS, The Board must determine the tax rates for gross gaming revenues; and

WHEREAS, Potential casino operators must pay a $1 million application fee to the New York State Gaming Commission; and

WHEREAS, Casino operators must pay the State a $500 million casino licensing fee upfront; and

WHEREAS, Potential casino hosts must include a revenue impact in their application; and

WHEREAS, Real estate developers have announced their intentions to put forth proposals for casinos in Times Square, Midtown East, and Herald Square, among other New York City locations; and

WHEREAS, Real estate developers are underscoring various casino benefits, including an increase in economic activity, job creation, and crime remedies; and

WHEREAS, Approximately 700,000 vehicles entered CB5 daily pre-pandemic, and traffic is currently at approximately 90% of those levels; and

WHEREAS, Pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the CB5 are nearing pre-pandemic levels, with Times Square seeing over 300,000 daily visitors; and

WHEREAS, Between 2010 and 2019, average travel speeds in the District decreased 22%, from 9.1mph to 7.1 mph; and

WHEREAS, New York City is back to pre-pandemic levels of private sector jobs, with 4.0 million jobs reported in October 2022 versus 4.1 million jobs reported in February 2020; and

WHEREAS, Manhattan unemployment rate was 4.2% as of September 2022; and

WHEREAS, NYC Central Business District, which CB5 is a part of, does not suffer from low economic development, and quite to the contrary, exhibits signs of economic strength, including anecdotal evidence of difficulties especially by the restaurant industry for staffing; and 

WHEREAS, Recent studies show that casino development has disproportionately negative effects on low-income populations, as these populations are twice as likely to have gambling problems; and

WHEREAS, New York City had the highest percentage of problem gamblers in the state; and

WHEREAS, Consequences from gambling addiction include bankruptcy, mental health issues, bad credit, and drug usage, all of which put a strain on the local community; and

WHEREAS, Studies have found that casino gambling has a far more harmful effect on people than other legal forms of gambling; and

WHEREAS, A study from the Research Institute on Addictions at the University of Buffalo found that people living within 10 miles of a casino or in a disadvantaged neighborhood were significantly more likely to develop a gambling addiction; and 

WHEREAS, The study revealed that living close to a casino increased the likelihood of developing a gambling disorder by 90%; and 

WHEREAS, Casinos are estimated to be responsible for 8% of crime in the counties that site them; and

WHEREAS, As pointed out by a member of the public, CB5 is home to a large number of SRO, especially in Time Square, occupied by a vulnerable population that may fall victim to gambling addiction; and 

WHEREAS, There are no requirements for the State and developers to programmatically and financially support the negative health and social effects of casino gambling; and

WHEREAS, CB5 believes the considerations regarding the labor market, economic activity, congestion, community fallout and gambling addictions, all provide ample reasons to not develop a casino in the District; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends opposition of casino development in CB5 and urges our elected officials to vote no on the siting of a casino in CB5.

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