New York Developers Eye Casinos at Hudson Yards, Times Square, Willets Point, Coney Island


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As The Post has learned, New York City developers and gaming operators are throwing their chips in a fierce battle for the right to open local casinos, including those in Times Square and Hudson Yards.

According to sources familiar with the plans, some of the other sites in sight are Willets Point near Mets Citi Field in Queens and Brooklyn’s Coney Island.

The state gambling commission is authorized to issue up to three licenses in the lower state of the Big Apple, and Mayor Eric Adams said he wants at least two licenses to be given to the city.

Real estate giants Associated Companies at Hudson Yards and Vornado and SL Green in Times Square are interested in partnering with casino giants like Hard Rock, Sands and Wynn for local establishments, industry and government sources said.

Developer and casino representatives briefed Adams’s office, as well as Gov. Kathy Hochul and state officials, on their tentative plans, the sources said.

Affiliate company officials met with City Hall to discuss a proposal to build a casino above the railroad tracks on the far West Side.

Associated Companies Chairman Stephen Ross is a major sponsor of Hochul, the largest casino lottery player that oversees government gambling regulators.

A spokesman for related companies, the main developer of Hudson Yards on the West Side, confirmed interest in building a casino in Manhattan.

Associated development companies Hudson Yards are looking for a potential West Side casino.
William Farrington

“We’re exploring our options,” Associated spokesman John Weinstein told The Post Sunday.

Sources familiar with the discussions said that Hudson Yards has enough space to build a casino, as well as the transportation infrastructure needed to get people to and from the gambling establishment. Station 7 and Penn Station are nearby. The site is also close to the Javits Convention Center.

Sources said that Mets owner Steve Cohen and his partners, who have a good relationship with Adams, have also spoken to city hall about the potential construction of a local casino.

According to an insider, Thor Equities also discussed the possibility of building a casino on Coney Island.

Business tycoon John Katsimatidis, who built residences on the Ocean Drive waterfront along the coast of Coney Island, has also expressed support for opening a casino there.

“A casino would be a great thing for Coney Island and Brooklyn,” Katsimatidis said Sunday. “A casino in Coney Island will give Brooklyn a lot of energy.”

Thor Equities is reportedly interested in building a casino in Coney Island.
Thor Equities is reportedly interested in building a casino in Coney Island.
Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

As for the casino, Hard Rock said that they have already joined the party.

He just donated $119,000 to the state Democratic Party, controlled by Governor Hochul, and donated more than six figures to the governor’s reelection campaign, according to fundraising records filed with the state Board of Elections.

Hard Rock lobbyists also met with City Hall Chief of Staff Frank Carone about wanting to build a casino, lobbying records show. Hard Rock executives discussed partnership with Mets’ Cohen for Willets’ Point Casino.

Benefit: Willet’s Point is easily accessible on the #7 subway train, Long Island Railroad, Grand Central Parkway, and Long Island Expressway, and a large population is only a short drive away in Flushing, a potential gambling district. sources say.

Mets owner Steve Cohen reportedly spoke to City Hall about a casino near Citi Field in Willets Point.
Mets owner Steve Cohen spoke with City Hall about a casino near Citi Field in Willets Point, sources said.
NY POST Photo/Corey Sipkin

Meanwhile, Sands CEO Rob Goldstein also met with Carone about the Big Apple Casino, a source close to the discussions said.

As for supporting any local project, Carone told The Post, “Casinos provide unions with well-paying jobs.”

The two existing gambling halls at the state racecourses – Resorts World/Genting at Aqueduct in Queens and Empire City/MGM in Yonkers in Westchester County – have been in operation for over a decade and will apply for a full license to expand and offer live board games. If these two sites are chosen, there will be a fight for one remaining license for a new casino in the lower state.

But opening a casino anywhere in the city, especially in Manhattan, will not be easy.

Gaming interests must be supported by the community under state law.

Supporters will need to get approval from a two-thirds of a six-member community advisory board for the area where the casino is offered. Representatives must include appointees of the borough president, local state senator, assembly member, and city council member, as well as the governor and mayor.

If the proposed casino is not publicly owned, it must also be approved under the city’s lengthy land-use review process, which requires the city council’s blessing.

The situation gives social activists and local elected officials enormous leverage in the selection process.

Other controversial projects on Manhattan’s West Side, including former Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s proposed Olympic Stadium and the Westway, also ended up in the cemetery.

“I am totally against the concept of casinos in Manhattan,” State Senator Brad Hoylman, representing the Hudson Yards and Times Square neighborhoods, told The Post on Sunday.

“I don’t know any voter who would like a casino,” he said. “Outside forces want the casino. The insiders who live here don’t want the casino.”

Research questions the economic benefits of land-based casinos in the digital age as well. According to critics, the region is oversaturated with gambling establishments.

But the New York City government would benefit from billions of dollars in revenue.

The state is expected to receive at least $500 million for each casino license, or at least $1.5 billion.

Tax rates will ultimately be determined through competitive bidding for licenses, but the law states they cannot be less than 25% of slot machine revenue and 10% of table game revenue.

Tax rates are likely to be higher. All four upstate casinos pay between 30% and 40%.

The Gambling Commission will appoint the members of the board for the placement of the casino by October 4th. The council will then have 90 days to apply for rates.

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