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

Written By Mike Mazzeo on October 29, 2021

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 has covered New York sports since 2010, previously working as a beat writer and columnist for ESPN (Nets), Yahoo Sports (NBA/MLB) and the New York Daily News (Yankees). His work has also been published in the New York Times, New York Post, Forbes and The Ringer.

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