The owner of the New York Mets reportedly has his sights set on a Citi Field casino license. Up to three downstate commercial casino licenses are up for grabs, with Steve Cohen’s close associates in discussions with Queens officials and Mayor Eric Adams regarding the matter, according to local media reports.
It appears that Cohen has been busy putting plans in place for a possible casino close to the Mets’ home field. He is supposedly assessing various potential casino operator partners with the help of investment bank Union Gaming.
Hard Rock is the preferred candidate
According to the New York Post, Hard Rock is the preferred candidate, with the operator already a significant donor to New York Governor Kathy Hochul. Las Vegas Sands is also in the mix, having spoken with Cohen regarding a casino project shortly after his purchase of the Mets in 2020.
In discussion with state officials
Point72 Asset Management head of external affairs and chief of staff Michael Sullivan is leading the lobbying efforts for Cohen, as reported by the NYP.
Last week, sources reportedly spotted Sullivan in extensive conversation with Mayor Adams during a political reception at a private nightclub. According to city records, New Green Willets has so far spent almost $99,000 this year on lobbying City Council and City Hall officials.
A competitive bidding process
Cohen is certainly not alone in his desire for a New York casino license. The MGM-owned Empire City in Yonkers and the Genting-owned Resorts World property in Queens will most likely seek a full casino license when the application process begins. Other potential sites for a new casino include Times Square and Hudson Yards in Manhattan with many real estate developers interested.
As per the current plan, the New York State Gaming Commission will assign officials to a casino project vetting board by October 4. A 90-day period will follow this process in which the board will assess casino license bids.
A six-person community advisory board made up of people from the proposed casino location will then need to give two-thirds approval to the project. Unless a casino project plans to use state-owned property, the plan will also need approval from the City Council.