Bidding Process for New York Casinos to Begin

Siting panel expected to issue request for application following March 31 meeting.

The formal bidding process for New York's new commercial casino developments begins March 31 when a state casino siting panel will release a request for application from developers.

The panel, which will report its recommendations for casino developers to the state Gaming Commission, is due to meet March 31. A pre-meeting agenda released March 28 shows the request for application as one of the items up for approval.

The request for application, or RFA, will spell out in detail the requirementsmuch of which are already established in state lawfor bidders vying for the four casino licenses. Developers will have to show such things as community support, how their plans assist in economic development efforts, and their ability to construct "destination-style" resorts.

New York voters last fall approved a change in the state constitution permitting up to seven new casinos. Several large areas of the state are barred from getting the facilities because of existing casino compacts with Indian tribe casino operators.

A separate state law opens three areas of the state to the first four casinos: the Saratoga/Albany region; Catskills/Mid-Hudson Valley; and southern tier area between Binghamton rising northward in a narrow slice east of Rochester. Where the other three casinos might go in the years ahead has not been spelled out.