The Business Council in a letter released Monday called for the expansion of casinos in the New York City area, a move it said it could generate as much as $1.5 billion in licensing fees.

The letter from Business Council President Heather Briccetti also called for the rejection of converting existing racinos — such as those operating at MGM’s Empire City in Yonkers and by Genting at Aqueduct in Queens.

“The State should reject any quick-fix approach to convert existing racinos to full-fledged gaming operations,” she wrote in the letter obtained by Capital Tonight. “That error would deprive New Yorkers of the full revenue and jobs potential open competition brings to the table.”

Both companies have been pushing lawmakers to accelerate the time frame for downstate casino licenses to be issued. Upstate commercial casinos currently have an exclusivity in the state that runs until 2023.

Excluding existing racino operations would benefit the Las Vegas-based Sands, which has been eyeing an entrance into the New York market. The company, led by prominent Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, this year formed an advisory group with prominent New Yorkers, including former Gov. David Paterson.

At the same time, the Business Council an “open and transparent” process in issuing three licenses for the New York City area.

“Without full gaming downstate we’re conceding new revenue and New York dollars to surrounding states who seized on the economic opportunity,” she wrote in the letter.

“New York City is by far the most attractive new market in the country for the gaming industry. To fully maximize this unparalleled economic development and revenue opportunity, we need all companies interested to compete and put their best plans forward for a valuable license to build and operate gaming resort destinations in our State.”

The expansion of casino gambling in New York to commercial operators was initially sold as an effort to aid the upstate economy.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top budget director last week cast doubt on whether the timetable for downstate licenses would be sped up as well as the revenue benefit the move would generate.