ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — 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.