Airing their concerns
Three available downstate New York casino licenses have garnered a lot of interest from potential stakeholders. One of the proposals is from New York Mets owner and hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen, who wants to develop a 50-acre parking lot close to the team’s ballpark into a casino and entertainment complex.
raising concerns about a potential uptick in crime
A few things stand in the way of this idea getting off the ground, including opposition from locals. During a town hall meeting in Queens on Monday, people living in the area raised concerns about a potential uptick in crime that such a development would bring. Some individuals held a rally before the meeting, displaying signs that contained captions like “No Casino.”
The Flushing Anti-Displacement Alliance community organization called on Senator Jessica Ramos to oppose the project, referring to research that shows the harm that such facilities can bring to a region.
Further deliberations necessary
Not everyone opposes the Citi Field plan, however. Many construction workers support the proposal, which would supposedly create more than 15,000 jobs. Others believe that the project will bring better transport infrastructure to the area and help support local businesses.
To be in with a chance of securing one of the three available downstate casino licenses, the plan will need to get approval from local politicians, the governor, and the state’s gambling regulator.
she wants locals to understand the pros and cons
State Senator Jessica Ramos, a representative for the local area, intends to hold numerous town hall meetings before deciding if she will support the proposal or not. She claims she will not rush her decision as she wants locals to understand the pros and cons. Ramos opposed legislation in May that would have allowed Cohen to redesignate the land for commercial use.
A competitive process
Almost a dozen different groups are vying for a downstate New York casino license. Each of the five boroughs could secure such a development, as well as Westchester and Long Island. The New York State Gaming Commission has not given a clear timeline on when it will award the licenses, with the application process currently open.
Existing slots parlors in Yonkers and Queens are expected to receive two of the licenses, which would allow them to upgrade their facilities to start offering table games like blackjack and roulette. The others would then have to fight it out for the remaining licenses. One of the most notable pitches is a Jay Z-backed casino in Times Square.