Two NYC-Area Casinos Among America’s Most Successful

The gambling industry in the United States is vast and varied, with some surprising leaders emerging in recent years. One such revelation is the greater New York City area’s prominence as a powerhouse in the legal gambling market. While many might attribute this success to the popularity of wagering on sports in New York, the reality is far more complex.

New York has quickly risen to prominence in the gambling world, particularly since the launch of online sports wagering. In a relatively short period, it’s grown into the biggest market in the US when considering operator revenue and tax revenue. However, it’s essential to note that mobile sports gambling is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to New York’s gambling dominance.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that not all forms of wagering in New York are legal yet. While in-person gambling is allowed, and online sports wagering was recently introduced, online casino gambling, including games like blackjack and poker, is still a legal gray area. This has many New Yorkers opting to use offshore international sites, like These sites are typically licensed out of state or in other countries, with more lenient gambling laws, but are accessible from anywhere. So while New York is seeing huge growth within the gambling industry, it does not yet include online casino gambling, although some believe that may be next.

Resorts World New York City emerged as the largest earning commercial gaming property not located in Nevada in 2023, according to data from the American Gaming Association. Similarly, Empire City Casino is the 6th largest earning commercial gaming property not in Nevada, falling behind the large casino resorts in Maryland, Massachusetts, and Atlantic City’s top performer, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

The Queens/Yonkers region, where these casinos are located, ranked as the sixth-largest gambling market in the country last year, generating over $1.5 billion in annual revenue. This ranking is based on the combined revenue from slot machines, table games, and retail sportsbooks. The success of these NYC-area casinos underscores the region’s significance in the national gambling landscape.

Looking ahead, gambling regulators in New York are set to award three casino licenses to operators in the downstate area, which encompasses NYC, Long Island, and several surrounding counties. While the official bidding process is yet to commence, there are 11 presumed applicants vying for these licenses. The anticipated expansion of the gambling industry in the region has sparked considerable interest and speculation among industry stakeholders.

It’s widely speculated that Resorts World NYC and Empire City are frontrunners for these licenses, given their existing success and infrastructure. Securing a license could open the door for these properties to expand further and potentially offer online casinos once iGaming is legalized in New York. Additionally, they could be well-positioned to transform into fully integrated casino resorts, offering a comprehensive range of amenities and entertainment options.

However, it’s worth noting that both properties’ parent companies, Genting Group (Resorts World) and MGM Resorts International (Empire City), are currently under regulatory scrutiny in Nevada. Allegations of connections to illegal bookmakers could pose challenges to their licensing approval in New York, where regulators prioritize the integrity and suitability of all applicants.

Despite the frontrunner status of Resorts World NYC and Empire City, other contenders are vying for the coveted casino licenses, each promising substantial economic benefits and job creation. Ultimately, the decision rests with gambling regulators, who must carefully evaluate each applicant’s suitability and adherence to regulatory standards. As the industry continues to evolve, the future of gambling in the Big Apple remains both promising and uncertain.

The continued success of NYC-area casinos highlights the region’s potential to become a major player in the national gambling landscape. With the potential expansion of the industry and the introduction of online casinos, the opportunities for growth and innovation are boundless. As the industry continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how NYC-area casinos adapt and thrive in an ever-changing market landscape.

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About the Author: Thurman Hunter