Statue of Liberty with money

Investing major sums

Political lobbyists in New York City raked in huge sums in 2023 and may be set for more this year as the battle to build lucrative downstate casinos heats up. A new report outlines how total lobbyist compensation rose 8% year-on-year, up to $131m.

biggest spenders were groups linked with billionaire Steve Cohen

The biggest spenders were groups linked with billionaire Steve Cohen, who hopes to develop a casino adjacent to New York Mets stadium Citi Field. He is partnering with Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment on the project, the entities spending more than $2m on lobbyists in 2023.

Two of Cohen’s companies splashed out almost $1.4m altogether and employed the services of seven different firms.

Competition heating up

The other interested parties for these licenses are also investing plenty of money to curry favor for their own plans. Pushing for a casino in Hudson Yards, Wynn Resorts invested $314,000 in lobbyists last year.

The frontrunners for two of the three available licenses are existing slots parlors in the state, namely MGM Resorts-owned Empire City Casino and Genting-owned Resorts World New York City. They both spent $300,000 in 2023 as they tried to expand their current licenses to allow them to offer table games.

Bally’s retainers totaled $285,000 as it attempted to get approval for a casino in The Bronx, while Caesars Entertainment has proposed an ambitious Times Square project and spent $185,000 on lobbyists in 2023.

The New York City Clerk’s Office, which regulates the state’s lobbyists, produces an annual study detailing the expenditures. The sector with the most expenditure on lobbying was real estate firms, accounting for approximately one-third of the 2023 total.

Big business

The job of the lobbyists is to showcase the advantages of specific casino proposals to political figures. This can include showing lawmakers PowerPoint presentations and renderings of the planned developments, while also underlining the benefits for the local areas and the state.

companies don’t have to disclose the big money they spend on other services

While these types of relationships and compensation have to be made public, companies don’t have to disclose the big money they spend on other services like public relations, political strategy, and consulting.

The official application process for the casino licenses has yet to begin, with each permit carrying a license fee of $500m. It might not be until 2025 that the New York State Gaming Commission finally decides on the recipients of the licenses. Current estimates suggest annual tax revenue from these downstate casinos would reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The post New York Lobbyists Took in $131m Last Year Amid Casino License Push appeared first on Vegas Slots Online News.

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