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Queens Casino plans are in question after a key legislator declares his opposition

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New York’s casino downstate project took a new turn when state senator Jessica Ramos spoke out against Steve Cohen’s plans to build a property in Queens at Citi Field.

Cohen, a hedge-fund billionaire, has laid out plans to develop Citi Field in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Hard Rock International and Hedge Fund billionaire Cohen have proposed an $8bn project that includes gaming, entertainment facilities, live music venues and Hard Rock hotels.

Community investments would include 20 acres of parkland, 5 acres of sports fields, and playgrounds. This commitment is backed by “climate ready infrastructure”.

Metropolitan Park would be constructed on the 50-acre parcel of land that is currently being used for parking at the stadium.

Casino Reports reports that Ramos is now taking a stand directly against these plans.


Ramos’ refusal to play at Queens Casino could lead to its closure

She says that she won’t introduce any legislation to downgrade the existing Corona parkland for its redevelopment into a casino.

Ramos stated in a press release that “we want to invest and have opportunities, and we desperately need green spaces and recreational activities for our entire family.” We disagree with the idea that we must accept the casino as a trade-off.

Ramos criticized “generations of neglect” that had made many people so desperate they were willing to accept a casino to revitalize the area. The project could be stymied by this, as Ramos must pass the parkland alienation act, which gives Cohen permission to construct on land that technically belongs to the city.

Ramos instead proposes a “balanced” alternative to the alienation law. The bill would permit Cohen and Hard Rock the construction of a hotel and convention centre, and doubled open space. But no casino.

She said, “The parcel is strategically located near LaGuardia Airport and provides visitors with a chance to experience our vibrant local food culture while also addressing climate change.”

Mr Cohen and Hard Rock could still earn a profit – albeit a smaller one.


Is the competition for New York casinos in downstate New York narrowing?

The New York State Gaming Commission does not expect to complete the construction of the three casinos in the downstate until the end of 2025. However, operators are still vying for positions, each with their own challenges.

There are currently four potential sites, including the Cohen and Hard Rock proposal for Citi Field and another in Yonkers.

They are the runners and riders

MGM Resorts and Genting Group are two of the three bidders who want to reuse existing facilities. MGM wants to turn the Empire City Casino, a video-lottery racino, into a commercial resort. Genting could also transform its Resorts World NYC facility in Queens.

Chickasaw Nation, in partnership with Saratoga Casino Holdings, and Thor Equities is part of the consortium that’s vying to get a license in Brooklyn Coney Island. However, locals have voiced their opposition in community forums.

There are two major bidders in Manhattan: Wynn Resorts, and Caesars Entertainment. Wynn’s Hudson Yards location is deemed particularly appealing, but locals are concerned about the increased traffic in an already congested region.

Caesars has partnered with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation to build a casino in Times Square, New York City’s busiest area.

Bally’s Corporation, in the Bronx bids to develop the site of the old Trump Golf Links, Ferry Point. This could hinge on the outcome of a battle between shareholders for control. K&F Growth Capital wants to stop Standard General taking over the operator, and proposes a more streamline approach which would remove it from the New York mix.

Casino Reports, an independent company.

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