Competition for Upstate NY casino licenses heats up

More potential competitors for upstate New York casino licenses are emerging despite an increasingly crowded Northeast market.

New York officials will begin awarding casino licenses next year after voters passed a state constitutional amendment to allow Las Vegas-style casinos beyond Indian land. There will be four upstate licenses available, and more than twice that number of groups have expressed interest in operating a casino in the Catskills region, the Southern Tier or the Albany-Saratoga area.

With the new law initially leaving the populous New York City-area market out of the mix, the nearby Catskills has attracted the most interest.

Groups that are selected will pay a hefty licensing fee that is not specified. Nearby states charge licensing fees of $50 million or more.