Coney Island Casino Proposal Introduces Rooftop Space To ‘Benefit The Whole Community’

Written By David Danzis on March 19, 2024
Rendering of rooftop open space at Coney Island Casino, one of several downstate New York casino projects vying for a license

One of the more ambitious downstate New York casino projects is taking its gamble to another level.

The Coney, a multi-billion-dollar casino hoping to revitalize Brooklyn’s Coney Island, released renderings of a planned rooftop green space for its facility. The free-to-the-public rooftop amenity will be roughly one acre in size and is street-level accessible, according to the project’s development team.

A press release announcing the top-level addition described it as “a unique space that makes for a variety of uses, including a calming respite, children’s play, a place to enjoy food and beverage, and take in the art installations.”

Rooftop space latest addition to developing Coney Island casino project

Of the 11 anticipated bids for NY’s three available downstate casino licenses, The Coney is the only one looking to call Brooklyn home. The casino resort is targeting a five-acre plot near the corners of Surf and Stillwell avenues.

The group behind The Coney includes Thor Equities, the Chickasaw Nation, Legends Hospitality (Jerry Jones/Yankee Global Enterprises) and Saratoga Casino Holdings.

Part of the pitch behind The Coney is that it will infuse billions of dollars in economic activity and create thousands of jobs in an area sorely in need of both. With a $500 million licensing fee and millions in generated gaming taxes each year, The Coney could also be a boon for Albany’s coffers.

Where downstate casino licensing process stands

Right now, the downstate NY casino proposals are in limbo. The Gaming Facility Location Board has yet to open the application window officially.

Once that happens, part of the process includes securing local support. A six-member, politically-appointed Community Advisory Committee must recommend prospective bids to the NY State Gaming Commission and the GFLB for consideration, which could open the door to offer NY online casinos should lawmakers legalize the industry.

Two existing racinos — Resorts World NYC in Queens and MGM Empire City Casino in Yonkers — are widely expected to be awarded two of the available licenses. That leaves just one class III gaming license for nine bids, the likes of which include casino heavyweights such as Caesars Entertainment, Wynn Resorts, Bally’s Corp. and Hard Rock International.

The Coney, like several of its competitors, has enlisted locals in an effort to increase community acceptance. Former New York City council member Robert Cornegy serves as a consultant for The Coney proposal. Former southern Brooklyn council member Domenic Recchia is also reportedly part of the team, which has been relying on a grassroots, boots-on-the-ground outreach to secure community support.

The Coney Island casino also has detractors. Community Board 13, composed of unsalaried members appointed by the borough president, serves in advisory and consultative roles on land use and zoning issues. CB13 took a vote and passed a resolution to oppose The Coney. The board’s reasons for opposing a casino on Coney Island included crime and traffic, among other ancillary issues.

Photo by Coney Island Casino
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David Danzis

David Danzis is a writer for PlayNY. A New Jersey native and honors graduate of Rutgers University, he served as a newspaper reporter for the New Jersey Herald and Press of Atlantic City, earning statewide awards for his coverage of politics, government, education, sports and business. Today, he contributes to New York's growing legal gambling landscape, including online sports betting and potential legalization of NY online casinos. David lives in Mays Landing with his wife and two children. When not on the beach, a golf course, or snowboarding, David enjoys watching his beloved New York sports teams — Yankees, Jets, Rangers and Knicks.

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