Bally’s Makes Its Ferry Point As Quest Continues For NY Casino License

Written By Grant Lucas on January 13, 2024
former trump golf links at ferry point with bally's logo

We all knew it was coming. But now it has become official – symbolically, anyway.

Bally’s has taken over the golf course at Ferry Point.

The former Trump Golf Links – acquired by Bally’s in the fall as it seeks one of three downstate New York casino licenses, which could open the door to NY online casinos if lawmakers legalizes the industry – was expected to feature new signage near the end of the week.

As a result, if you’re driving over the Whitestone Bridge, you may glance down at the Bronx facility and see “Bronx Links” greeting your gaze.

Bally’s puts its name on its mission for NY casino license

In the fall, the Trump Organization sold its operational contract of the property to Bally’s. At the time, reports suggested that Bally’s paid “tens of millions of dollars” to acquire the 20-year lease, with the caveat of stripping the course of the former president’s name.

That last detail apparently thrilled Comptroller Brad Lander, who told the New York Post: “I am delighted that Trump’s name will no longer deface city parkland.”

Of course, Bally’s has other plans in mind besides just running a golf course.

With three downstate NY casino licenses available, Bally’s is hoping to have its name selected to offer full-scale casino gaming in the New York City area.

While that slow and arduous process continues, Bally’s is celebrating its golf links takeover.

“We are incredibly excited about this new chapter for Bally’s Golf Links at Ferry Point,” said Soo Kim, controlling owner of Bally’s who grew up in Queens, as reported by the New York Post.

“This course is one of the City’s crown jewels – an amazing public course right here in the Bronx – and we look forward to being both responsible and responsive stewards of this compelling community asset.”

Bally’s acquires former Trump course for a bargain

While reports suggested Bally’s will pay upward of $100 million for the course, depending on performance, Donald Trump Jr. suggested that the company paid a lower price.

Delivering testimony during his father’s fraud trial in November, Trump Jr. said that Bally’s paid $60 million for the property. He added that the Trump Organization incurred “a lot of costs” over the years. As such, he remained unsure of the net profit.

The 18-holf golf course, designed by Jack Nicklaus was under Trump management since 2015 and cost the city over $120 million to develop.

Odds of Bally’s Links actually becoming a New York casino

According to the New York Post, local elected officials in the Bronx have begun favoring a potential Bally’s NY casino.

Assemb. Michael Benedetto noted that “Bally’s has already had a positive impact on this community, and is committed to providing opportunities for economic growth and job creation.

“They have shown through concrete actions that they are a community partner you can count on.”

That said, it appeared as if the election of Kristy Marmorato to City Council would throw a wrench in Bally’s plans. After all, each casino proposal must receive majority approval from a local Community Advisory Council. And each CAC will feature a representive from the City Council.

For her part, Marmorato said she remains “opposed to the casino,” calling a Bally’s casino “an environmental nightmare.”

It would appear as if other bids could draw more support than Bally’s, especially with highly regarded companies like Caesars (Times Square), MGM (Empire City Casino) and Las Vegas Sands (Nassau Hub) – among others – in the mix.

While odds suggest it unlikely, however, a New York casino on a golf course certainly represents a unique idea worth considering.

Photo by 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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