CasinosJungle > News > Do Residents Really Hold Veto Power in the Casino Industry?

Do Residents Really Hold Veto Power in the Casino Industry?

Penny January 17, 2024

Gaming is one of the United States’ biggest markets. In a tale as old as time, as these industries go from strength to strength, new players and established names look to get in on the action and increase their own slice of the cash on offer. However, as the world of the casino is a business that carries with it some baggage, it is often easier said than done.

Casino area residents votes and vetos

The physical industry requires land and that is at a premium in a period of property uncertainty. With land comes the approval of local governments and the existing residents of the area. Because of that, it is not uncommon to see casino plans fall through and even outright rejected at the planning application stages. So, are we entering an era where the power has shifted from big business into the hands of resident groups and local government?

Plans Continuing to Face Stiff Opposition

There’s nowhere that this changing of the guard is more obvious than in the states where casino licenses are up for grabs. In particular, New York is experiencing a wrought couple of years as a number of companies are vying for the available slots. With emphasis being placed on consultation with local residents in the process of acquiring approval, any prospective operators are having to spend a chunk of their budgets to curry favor with those in the state. Plans for a Coney Island casino have been built around continuous two-way discussions between residents, existing businesses, and potential operators. This has led to the plans receiving wider support than those in other areas of the state, where many businesses and entertainment industries have spoken out against the possibility of a new gaming establishment. In particular, Broadway, the home of US theater, has largely made its feelings known and seems to have scuppered any plans for a venue in that part of town.


Another area where it looks unlikely that a casino floor will be built is the east side of Manhattan. Plans were put forward to build an underground venue that would allow for green space to be established above ground. This was very clearly an attempt to provide something to the local community and try to get residents and politicians onside with the ambitious plans from the Soloviev Group. However, according to Fox 5, locals have expressed their concerns around the potential casino. In particular, residents spoke of their desire to maintain a more family-friendly atmosphere in the area, with one stating, “We have young children. It’s our schools. It’s just not the mood that we want in our neighborhood”. While no decision appears set to be made soon, it’s clear that those living in the area will have a significant say in what will be built – or not – in their vicinity. As such, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for operators and property developers to plan for future projects as they face battles against the local politics of the areas they would like to build in.


Scuppered Plans Not Just a New York Problem

While the previously mentioned projects have been entirely based in the state of New York, this doesn’t mean that it is the only area where there is increasing scrutiny on casino plans. Las Vegas is the home of casino gaming in North America and it’s easy to incorrectly believe that the operators of the venues on the Strip are given free reign to do whatever they want with the area. However, despite the dominance of the industry in Nevada, local government and casino residents do hold sway in ensuring that not every project is given the green light. A report by The Street explains that a recent plan by Wynn Casinos to build a new resort has been shut down before it can even get off the ground and could ultimately be canceled. This is reported to be due to a problem with lapsed applications and disruption from the COVID pandemic. However, it indicates that even the biggest and brightest in the industry are facing pushback that they may not have previously been used to.


More than anything, the potential cancellation of existing projects and rejection of planning applications shows us that we’re entering a period of time where local government and casino residents groups are much more discerning about what developments are allowed in their neighborhoods. It indicates that operators will have to give much more consideration to the wants and desires of the people who will live alongside their businesses. Because of that, it could be that we see much greater communication from all sides.

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