Coney Island Casino Project Gaining Local Support, Group Says

Written By David Danzis on August 25, 2023
The Coney Island NY casino project is gaining lots of local support.

A downstate New York casino proposal is gaining community support and that is something that could become a deciding factor in securing one of three available gaming licenses.

More than 10,000 Brooklyn residents have signed a petition in support of The Coney, according to a press release from the team behind the Coney Island casino bid. Of the 11 submitted downstate NY casino proposals, The Coney is the only one that would call Brooklyn home.

The text of the petition reads as follows:

“As a Southern Brooklyn resident, you support creating jobs and new economic growth by establishing a new casino and entertainment district in Coney Island. For decades, our community, our families and our small businesses have been shortchanged and we have been waiting for the year-round economic opportunities that this project will finally make happen. We urge our elected representatives and leaders to support this project and the jobs and career training for local residents that will develop into long-standing, fulfilling careers in entertainment and hospitality.”

Coney Island NY casino building support from locals

Community backing for NYC casino projects is an important element. Gambling license applicants need to receive approval from a Community Advisory Committee before the state Gaming Facility Location Board will begin evaluating the proposal.

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

Former NYC council member Robert Cornegy serves as a consultant for the 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 effort to secure community support.

In the spring, Cornegy told PlayNY he and others with the project had knocked on more than 16,000 doors. At that time, the group reported securing 3,363 signatures.

Several months and more than 6,700 signatures later, Cornegy and the team sound more confident than ever. In a press release announcing the signature milestone, Cornegy said:

“We’ve seen a real groundswell of support for The Coney because Coney Island and South Brooklyn residents know that year-round good-paying jobs, better public safety, investments in our students and more economic opportunities are good for this community. Grassroots engagement is our top priority and we’re going to keep going to meetings, talking to people and telling everyone about the benefits The Coney would bring to help revitalize Coney Island.”

The Coney project would create lots of jobs for community members

According to The Coney group, the casino project would create 4,000 permanent gaming and hospitality jobs. The group says there will be a local hiring preference, fueled by local recruiting and job fairs within the Coney Island community.

Several of the proposed downstate NY casino projects are facing local pushback, most notably the Las Vegas Sands project in Nassau County. This also includes a joint venture between NY Mets owner Steve Cohen and Hard Rock in Queens, and a Caesars Entertainment casino bid in Times Square.

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 issues regarding land use and zoning. 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.

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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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