Connecting With NY Community, Bally’s Launching Free-To-Ride Bus In The Bronx

Written By Grant Lucas on September 22, 2023
image of bally's bus, a free shuttle service offered by the golf club in ferry point

The Bronx will soon have a free bus service, courtesy of Bally’s.

The casino company, which just took over the golf course at Ferry Point in hopes of converting the site into a New York casino, announced that it will be running a 10-stop bus route in the area, free of charge to patrons.

Starting Oct. 1, the 20-seat red bus — complete with the Bally’s logo on the side — will spring into action. While obviously a generous plan, there’s little doubt that Bally’s hopes this will win over local officials as the company bids for a downstate casino license.

Bally’s bus a ‘long-term community-building exercise’

One of the biggest factors when deciding which downstate NY casino proposals deserve consideration is community acceptance. And Bally’s seems to have found a way to get the local community behind its brand while other bidders have faced or will face pushback.

Obviously the golf course, which Bally’s took over from the Trump Organization, will serve as one of the stops along the 30-minute route. As first reported by the Bronx Times, the other nine stops include seven along East Tremont Avenue that connects Throggs Neck with the Westchester Square subway stop. Another two will be along the Hutchinson River Parkway and another at Ferry Point Park.

The bus will run from Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Soo Kim, chairman of Bally’s, told the Bronx Times that the bus serves as a “long-term community-building exercise.”

Bally’s making inroads for community support

Councilwoman Marjorie Velazquez, who represents an area covered by the Bally’s bus, called the area “a transit desert.” Fortunately, “Bally’s stepped up to the plate.”

Velazquez has not endorsed a proposed Bally’s casino. Recently, though, she has reportedly begun looking “very favorably” on the plan. And the Bally’s bus was proof to her that the gambling company wants to help the community.

The news release from Bally’s included a statement from Sen. Nathalia Fernandez, who noted that the company’s bus “lends strong support to local small businesses and benefits all residents.” Assemb. Michael Benedetto added that the bus “could be a catalyst for robust economic growth.”

Not one of the three state officials, however, have voiced a position on the Bally’s casino proposal.

A home quickly forming for Bally’s as licensing process continues

Earlier this year, Bally’s targeted the golf course at Ferry Point as a potential home for a downstate casino. Within the past few weeks, the company has essentially moved in – turning the formerly Trump-named course into Bally’s Golf Links at Ferry Point.

When compared with other downstate proposals, Bally’s has seemingly had more positive feedback from locals. In addition, the site’s location – just off the Whitestone Bridge across from Queens – could give Bally’s a leg up. Less traffic (compared to bids proposing casinos in Manhattan and Times Square) but easily accessible.

The downstate licensing process is well underway, with state regulators answering the first round of questions and now awaiting a second round of inquiries.

Once the state answers those, each bidder will have 30 days to officially submit their applications. Then, not only will we know exactly what each proposal offers, but business truly begins.

Photo by Bally's Corporation
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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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