Dueling Polls Offer Mixed Bag Of Results For Steve Cohen’s Metropolitan Park Casino Project

Written By David Danzis on April 5, 2024
New York Mets owner Steve Cohen for a story on polls showing both support and opposition of a proposed Hard Rock casino near Citi Field

Billionaire Steve Cohen is having a not-so-great couple of days.

His New York Mets are, once again, the laughingstock of baseball and a local state senator is running around with new polling showing a lot of opposition to Uncle Steve’s proposed downstate NY casino project in Queens.

But billionaires have a way of creating their own luck, and Cohen is no exception.

NY casino project supported by majority of voters in district, Cohen says

On Tuesday (the same day the Mets dropped to 0-4 on the 2024 MLB season), Cohen and his team at Queens Future released a poll showing 62% of registered Senate District 13 voters support the Metropolitan Park project at Willets Point.

The Cohen-backed results are in stark contrast to a recent poll released by Sen. Jessica Ramos, a Democrat who represents the Queens district where Cohen and Hard Rock International want to build an $8 billion casino resort and entertainment complex.

Ramos’ polling shows that 61% of respondents do not want to see a full casino anywhere in Queens, and 75% said they would not want one in their neighborhood.

Metropolitan Park is one of 11 potential applicants for three available downstate NY casino licenses. The class III gaming licenses permit live dealer table games and random-number-generated slot machines, as opposed to the electronic tables and video lottery terminals currently used at downstate gaming facilities.

What’s more, once lawmakers legalize them, NY online casino licenses would likely be carved out for land-based gambling facilities in the state.

Polling aside, future of Hard Rock casino hinges on Ramos

Local community support is a critical element of the casino licensing process. State gaming regulations require approval from a Community Advisory Committee before an applicant can be considered for licensure.

While Cohen’s proposal has garnered support from a local councilman, Metropolitan Park needs a land-use easement, known as a parkland alienation, in order for it to be a viable applicant.

Ramos is the only one who can introduce legislation to grant the easement. Thus far, she has been reluctant to even consider entertaining the idea.

Cohen and Hard Rock are looking to develop about 50 acres of land near Citi Field, the Mets’ home ballpark. The area is located very close to LaGuardia Airport and the Billie Jean King US Tennis Center.

The project could generate $130 billion in economic impact over the next 30 years while also creating over 10,000 jobs.

Some more revelations from Cohen-backed poll

Cohen’s poll had some other interesting findings.

According to the results, nearly 75% of all respondents said they supported the entire project. It also found that 31% of those polled in Ramos’ district were less likely to vote for her if she opposed the project, while 14% were more likely to.

The Cohen-backed poll surveyed more than 600 Queens residents, only 250 of which were in Ramos’ district.

Photo by Frank Franklin II / AP Photo
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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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