PNY Part 1 - President Casino New Yorker History (1 Viewer)


Straight Flush
Jul 29, 2013
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This is the first portion of a three-part thread, check out Part 2 and Part 3....

Below is a summary of the history of our beloved PNY chips and how 160k+ mint casino Paulsons ended up in the hands of chipping enthusiasts. The information was collected from various sources, including several threads at Chiptalk, news articles and President Casino’s Annual Reports & Stock Holder Letters. Reference links are provided at the bottom of the thread. A big thanks to @Jeff who assembled a lot of this information in his original PNY info thread over at CT nearly 10 years ago.

If there needs to be a correction or addition to this information, please post below or shoot me a PM and I’ll update the OP.

President Casino New Yorker - Casino & Chips History

The Backstory….

In 1997, the New York City Gambling Control Commission was established to regulate potential "cruise-to-nowhere" operations originating from New York City. The Commission's regulatory authority encompassed the review of license applications, performance of background checks and the issuance of licenses, among other areas. In December of that year, a federal judge ruled that gambling ship operators could open their casinos once they were three miles offshore, overturning a Brooklyn U.S. attorney's ruling early that year that set the limit at twelve miles offshore.

President Casino, Inc., in their 1997 Annual Report, stated that the company believed they were uniquely qualified to pursue this opportunity in the New York City market due to their extensive gaming and marine experience through their existing licensed riverboat and dockside casino operations. Moreover, President believed that its 308-foot deep-water vessel, "President Casino New Yorker," was one of the best vessels available at the time for a "cruise-to-nowhere" casino operation, and that the ship was available for redeployment in New York should the company receive a license.

In January 1998, President submitted the appropriate applications and background checks to the NYC Gambling Control Commission to operate a "cruise-to-nowhere" vessel from New York City. In addition, President committed approximately $4 million of capital for additions to their vessel docked at a private pier at the Erie Basin in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, and spent $1.3 million on development costs relating to the proposed New York operation. This included hiring 150 staff, outfitting the four deck vessel with 40 new gaming tables and space for as many as 550 slot machines, obtaining Coast Guard approval to begin daily six-hour excursions, taking practice cruises and having 163,000 Paulson chips made.

President received notification in April 1998 that the NYC Gambling Control Commission was not prepared to issue a provisional license. The Daily News reported that month that NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani decided to deter shipboard gambling, especially from city piers. In a Fiscal Year 1999 Letter to Stockholders and Employees, President noted the company was not denied a license, and there were no "cruise to nowhere" operations at the time in New York City. The vessel docked in Brooklyn was renamed "New Yorker" and leased to various third parties from July 1998 through 2000. It was subsequently auctioned off to SunCruz Casinos in 2003 after President declared Bankruptcy.

The Chips….

There are a few minor variants as to how the chips made their way into the chipping community. In general, it is believed the chips commissioned for the President Casino New Yorker were stored in one of Paulson’s vaults until late 2005. A former GPI employee made arrangements with the owners of the chips to purchase them. The chips eventually made their way into the private sector, selling for $1-$2 per chip via private sales (depending on quantities purchased), then via eBay, where they were sold off in sets and racks, originally selling for $2 each for any and all chips. Prices for the oversized 43mm $1,000 chips and several other denominations produced in limited quantities ($2.5s, $20s, $500s) have increased over time in the secondary market. For the purposes of this thread, I’ll refrain from naming “the source”, as he has turned down several past requests from CT members to be interviewed about the chips.

President Casino New Yorker – The Ship

I’ve pieced together information about the ship from about a dozen different President Casino Annual Reports, news articles (including one dating back to the 70s), auction reports, a ship spotting enthusiast website, and coast guard reports. I can’t guarantee this is 100% accurate, but I’m pretty sure most of it is correct.

The vessel slated to house the President Casino New Yorker, originally named “Dayliner”, was designed by Robert A. Simons and built in 1972 by Bellinger Shipyards in Jacksonville, Florida for the Circle Line Sightseeing Company of New York City. The ship’s maiden voyage occurred on June 10, 1972 from Pier 81 in New York City to Poughkeepsie and back, stopping at Bear Mountain and West Point. The 308’ foot long, $3.5 million diesel powered vessel was the first of its type built in America in 45 years.

I was unable to trace much of the ship’s early history, but at some point it in the early 1990s it was sold to President and renamed “President Casino V”. In the mid 90s, it was leased to Barden Development, Inc, (Indiana partner of President), and renamed “Majestic Star”. In 1998, following President’s application to the NYC Gambling Control Commission, the ship was renamed “President Casino New Yorker” and deployed to New York City. When the application languished, President leased the vessel to third party charters for NYC dinner cruises for several years, during which the ship was renamed “New Yorker”. In 2001, the ship was renamed “Surfside Princess” and sold to Southern Texas Gaming, LLC - however the sale feel through due to legal issues. In 2003 it was auctioned for $1.5 million to SunCruz Casinos after President declared Bankruptcy. SunCruz ran casino cruises out of Port Canaveral, Florida, through 2009 when they declared Bankruptcy. The vessel was then sold to Tynda Holdings (Victory Casinos), who put the aging ship through a multi-million dollar refurbishment, renamed it “Victory 1”, and began running casino cruises out of Port Canaveral in 2011.

Below are some photos of the ship that was to house the casino that never was…..

Sunset Princess, operated by SunCruz Casinos, circa 2009

Victory 1, operated by Victory Casinos, circa 2015



Original PNY reference thread:


CT PNY Pron thread:

News article on NYC application:

President news releases:

President Annual Reports:

News article on Circle Line “Dayliner”:

Coast Guard Vessel Documentation:

Other ship related news articles & links: Cruz XII
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Archived links from OP, just in case ;)
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Of course it had to be Giuliani.

Reading through the NYC news articles about the whole situation was pretty interesting. It appeared that he initially somewhat supported the idea after the federal legislation opened the door. There was some pretty fierce local opposition though, and it sounds like he eventually backed down and catered to that opposition. There were a few other smaller companies looking to start cruises as well, those didn't go well either:

When Michael Kornblum, founder of Bay Casino, presented his plans for a ''destination attraction'' in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, the neighborhood's community board meeting erupted into a Jerry Springer-like debate. Hecklers called Mr. Kornblum a liar. One man unbuttoned his shirt and challenged another man to a fight....
Man, imagine the revenue NYC would have it stands, we have to wait until the casinos upstate are successful before the state licenses casinos to be built in NYC...or turn Empire and Resorts World into full blown casinos....
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I also think there were other forces at work. AC and Mohegan/Foxwoods didn't want to lose one of their golden geese.
Here's the original thread on its in sad shape due to Chiptalks problems. How'd you get the info off?

And the pron thread.

Doh! Forgot to add probably the most important reference link, thanks Jeff. I've had that thread bookmarked for years, it was vital in pulling all this information together. Both of these links have been added to the OP.
Finally had a chance to read this. Looking forward to the other segments.

Thanks for sharing. These have quickly become some of my favorite chips. Its great learning about their history.


1,200 mint PNYs. Buy it Now price: $13,000. $400 shipping.

Seller says s/he is moving these for “a customer” who bought them for $20,000.


I noticed this too! Its been on eBay for months! I asked the guy if he wanted to split the chips, and he said he will ask his customer. They then said no lol. Good luck getting 13K for it.
Per the OP, some 160,000 of these made it into the private market after the cruise ship project went bust. So they aren’t *that* scarce. Even in mint condition, and sold as a big set, I can’t see how they are worth nearly $11 per chip in bulk. But then I don’t know anything about the PNY market.

Now, for full set of Mayfair Club chips...
Yes, awesome work @Irish and @Jeff. Thank-you for contributing to all of this info in a convenient post, or three posts I guess as there's the equally informative Part 2 & 3! :tup:

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