Baseball And Blackjack? Mets Discuss Potential For NY Casino Near Citi Field

Written By Mike Mazzeo on October 29, 2021
Fans gather near Citi Field to honor the 1969 New York Mets before a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Saturday, June 29, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Mets owner Steve Cohen has had preliminary talks with Las Vegas Sands exploring the possibility of a casino next to Citi Field in Queens, a source confirmed to PlayNY.

“Steve thinks that Willets Point needs to be addressed long-term — it’s a mess,” a Mets spokesperson said. “He has been hearing lots of ideas and the Mets want to be part of those conversations to ensure the interests of our fans and the local community are well represented.”

The story was first reported by Sportico. The Associated Press also reported recently that Hard Rock wants to build a casino in or near New York City.

Casino(s) coming soon to NYC?

A little more than a week ago, the New York State Gaming Commission issued a request for information with regard to interest in the three remaining casino licenses, which are expected downstate. NY currently has four commercial casinos upstate: Rivers Schenectady, Tioga Downs, Resorts World Catskills, and del Lago.

A moratorium remains in place stating that the state cannot issue the three remaining licenses until at least 2023. But it appears that policymakers are prepared to revisit the moratorium due to the growing deficit caused by the COVID pandemic.

Among the topics contemplated in the RFI are interest, locations, scale, transportation, and taxation.

Candidates for downstate casino licenses

Empire City in Yonkers and Resorts World Aqueduct in Queens operate as video lottery terminals, and both could be converted into full-scale casinos. MGM acquired the Yonkers property in 2019 for $850 million.

The third and final license could be highly sought.

Locations in the five boroughs like Manhattan or Brooklyn could be considered, as could Long Island or the lower Hudson Valley. There has been persistent opposition about a Manhattan location from local lawmakers, however.

One potential Long Island location that has been mentioned is Belmont Park, site of the historic racetrack and the Islanders’ brand-new UBS Arena. Staten Island’s St. George neighborhood has also been floated as a possibility, according to the NY Post.

An NYC casino could incentivize New Jersey to build its own upstate casino, possibly at Meadowlands.

Lead photo: Frank Franklin II | AP

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Mike Mazzeo

Mike Mazzeo is the Lead Writer for PlayNY, arriving after covering several of New York's professional sports teams in a variety of roles for the past decade. Previously, he served as a beat writer and columnist covering the Brooklyn Nets (ESPN) and New York Yankees (New York Daily News). Mike also covered both the MLB and NBA nationally for Yahoo Sports. In addition, he served as a general assignment reporter for ESPN NewYork.com. He has also had bylines in the New York Times, New York Post, Newsday, Forbes and The Ringer. With PlayNY, Mike brings extensive coverage and unique story angles to what is projected to be one of the biggest and most lucrative online sports betting markets in the country. It's been an arduous and confounding process to get here, but 20 million New Yorkers (many of them die-hards) are now legally able to bet on their favorite sports teams across the state via online and mobile platforms.

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