Thor Equities Working On Bid For Downstate New York Casino At Coney Island

Written By Grant Lucas on October 12, 2022 - Last Updated on October 26, 2022
Coney Island New York Casinos Downstate Thor Equities

The Gaming Facility Location Board has been set. And the process for awarding the three downstate New York casino licenses has begun.

The only question: Who will receive those licenses? A number of interested parties have emerged.

But more recently, an industry sources confirmed to PlayNY that Thor Equities, a real estate development and management firm, intends to submit a sizable bid with hopes of becoming one of the newest NY casinos. In Coney Island, no less.

Thor Equities: Bringing NY casinos to Coney Island?

As confirmed by sources, Thor Equities plans to construct a New York casino at Coney Island.

“They’ve been working on it,” a source said, although it was added that community support remains a potential obstacle.

That factor is key to any bid. The Gaming Facility Location Board (GFLB), appointed a week ago, has 90 days to issue a request for applications (RFA).

But the panel will not even review a submission until after a community advisory committee gauges local support for each project. Only after that local committee’s approval, and following a formal zoning process, will the GFLB look at the bids.

Other interested parties for downstate NY casinos

While three licenses exist thanks to the signing of the state budget in April, it would appear as if only one is up for grabs.

After all, existing video lottery terminals Resorts World NYC in Queens and Empire City Casino in Yonkers seem like shoo-ins to upgrade to full-scale casinos, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

As a result, that last remaining license could go to one of several interested parties.

Hard Rock

Earlier this year, according to reports, New York Mets owner Steve Cohen hosted New York City Mayor Eric Adams and other City Hall officials at Citi Field in Queens. Part of the discussions: development plans for the surrounding area.

Cohen has engaged in talks with various casino gambling companies to potentially build a nearby casino in Willets Point. Hard Rock has long stood as one of the strongest possibilities to become a partner.

Industry sources say Hard Rock and Cohen continue working hard on a casino possibility.

“I think that may be the Mayor’s favorite,” one source said.

That said, as one industry source noted earlier this year:

“I do think there’s going to be community opposition. But I don’t know if it’s a death blow. When you’re a billionaire like Steve Cohen, your money goes a long way toward making problems go away.”

Wynn Resorts

Last month, reports surfaced that Wynn Resorts partnered with Related Cos. to also pursue a downstate NY casino license. Related, a real estate developer, brought in Wynn to build a casino as part of its $25 billion Hudson Yards project.

As part of its “entertainment and gaming resort” along the Hudson River, Related would integrate a casino on the Western Yards next to the Javits Center.

According to a statement from Related CEO Jeff Blau: “The Western Yards provides the ideal site for a resort that will reinvigorate our tourism economy and provide billions in tax revenues for the city and state.”

Sands, Bally’s, Genting, etc.

New York remains a target of many casino companies as the state continues legal gaming expansion.

So it comes as no surprise that all of the heavy hitters would express interest in laying roots in the Empire State.

From Sands to Bally’s to Genting to Rush Street, all could piece together bids with hopes of securing licenses for New York casinos.

Plus, plenty of real estate seemingly exists. Along the Hunts Point waterfront in the South BronxManhattanStaten IslandLong Island, almost anywhere.

However, as mentioned, no bid will reach the GFLB until after local community advisory committees and local residents sign off.

Because of this relatively lengthy process, it is expected that no NY casino licenses will be awarded until 2023 at the earliest.

Photo by Shutterstock / PlayNY
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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is the managing editor for PlayNY. A longtime, award-winning sports writer, Grant has covered gambling and legal sports betting since 2018, when he got his start reporting on the New Jersey and Pennsylvania industries. He now oversees PlayNY as New York expands legalized gambling to sports betting and online casino gaming.

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