The Gaming Facility Location Board, the panel charged with choosing the locations of four new casinos in Upstate New York, recently announced that 22 entities have paid the state an initial $1 million application fee.  Making this payment is the first step of what is expected to be an intense bidding process.

On Wednesday, applicants were to attend a required conference with the siting board in Albany.  At the conference, applicants were able to ask questions about the process of gaining operating licenses.

By the end of next week, the state is planning to inform applicants of the minimum capital investment required for their projects to be considered; this figure is expected to vary depending on the region in which the casino would be built.  It is likely that some applicants that are unable to meet this minimum capital investment will drop out of the bidding process.

The Catskills Region, which includes Orange County, appears to be gaining the most attention from potential casino developers.

Formal bids for casino licenses are due on June 30, and the siting board is expected to make final decisions by early fall. Applications will be evaluated on a number of factors, including economic activity (70%), local impacts (20%) and work force enhancement (10%).