New York Mets Casino Plan Dealt Major Blow as Senator Blocks Land Rezoning

  • Senator Ramos won’t propose the legislation to rezone the land
  • She said that the local community don’t want a casino in the area
  • Cohen’s team questioned how one person can veto the entire project
Senator Ramos
Senator Jessica Ramos (pictured) is refusing to propose legislation that is necessary for Steve Cohen’s New York casino to proceed. [Image:]

No luck

New York Mets owner and billionaire Steve Cohen hopes to transform the area surrounding his team’s ballpark. He has plans for an $8bn Metropolitan Park project that would see a Hard Rock casino built as part of a new entertainment complex, as long as it gets one of three downstate licenses.

local Senator Jessica Ramos revealed that she won’t propose legislation necessary

These plans were dealt a blow on Tuesday after local Senator Jessica Ramos revealed that she won’t propose legislation necessary to allow the casino project to redesignate the parkland area for entertainment use:

Not budging

Ramos represents the Flushing-Corona constituency in which the ballpark lies and she has kept her cards close to her chest in recent months before coming to a final decision. In her statement, Ramos said that she “will not introduce legislation to alienate parkland in Corona for the purposes of a casino.”

Local residents told Ramos that while they want a recreational area, they don’t want the concession for getting it to be a gambling venue. She is open to proposing a bill that would let Cohen develop a hotel and convention center, as well as have over double the initially planned green space, just with no casino.

Senator Ramos held three town hall meetings over the past year to get feedback from the community on the project. Her polling found that 75% of constituents are against the casino.

The Hard Rock casino will need the necessary permit to proceed with an official application for one of the three downstate licenses. While another senator could introduce legislation, this would mean that they are committing a major political faux pas by stepping on Senator Ramos’ turf. If this happens, Ramos is “ready to fight.”

A complex process

A Metropolitan Park spokesperson responded to the senator’s statement by questioning how one person could single-handedly veto the project. They noted that the project still has more than a year and other ways to obtain the necessary approval to go ahead with its plans.

if Cohen finds an alternative route, a Hard Rock casino isn’t a guarantee

Almost a dozen parties have expressed interest in the licenses, so even if Cohen finds an alternative route, a Hard Rock casino isn’t a guarantee. The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) doesn’t plan to choose the successful bidders until the end of 2025, so these projects have time on their side.  

No prospective bidder has spent more on lobbying than Cohen and related entities, committing over $2m last year to these efforts.

Other projects are also dealing with zoning issues. Bally’s Corporation needs to rezone parkland to build a casino in The Bronx on a former Donald Trump-owned golf course and Hofstra University took legal action over Las Vegas Sands’ plans to build a casino at the former site of the Coliseum.

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