Given the overwhelming success of mobile sports betting in New York, top operators in the industry have expressed keen interest in obtaining one of the state’s three newly available downstate casino licenses. This intense interest has drawn participation from major industry players, including Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts International, among several other contenders. In total, close to a dozen bidders have entered the fray, recognizing the significant potential that winning a downstate license could bring.
The Entrance of Steve Cohen
Steve Cohen, owner of the New York Mets, has also thrown his hat into the ring for a downstate casino license in New York. Last year, details surfaced about his plans to construct a casino in proximity to Citi Field, the home base for his baseball team. Upon declaring his entry into the competition, Cohen envisioned the casino as a source of entertainment for Mets fans, offering amusement before and after home games, and envisioned it as a catalyst for drawing more visitors to the area.
A Vision for the Citi Field Area
A recent update has brought to light Steve Cohen’s ambitious efforts to enhance his bid for the casino license. Spectrum News NY1 reported that earlier in the week, Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management unveiled a comprehensive multi-billion-dollar proposal aimed at transforming the vicinity of Citi Field. The plan not only includes the casino but also envisages significant upgrades to the surrounding area, such as the development of five acres of athletic fields and 20 acres of green park space utilizing the existing parking lots of Citi Field.
Furthermore, the proposal outlines plans for facilitating easier access to the Willets Point station and envisions additional investments in the community, including support for senior citizen and youth programs, along with enhanced healthcare, legal, and immigration services for local residents. The project is estimated to cost around $8 billion.
Community Implications of the Casino Proposal
While the casino proposal has been met with enthusiasm for its potential benefits, opinions are divided. During a town hall meeting on Wednesday, New York Senator Jessica Ramos highlighted the significance of the casino bid for the local communities. She voiced concerns that sufficient information about the proposal has not been disseminated among community members, stressing that the residents deserve full awareness of the potential development. Sen. Ramos plays a crucial role in the process, as she is responsible for appointing one of the five members of a special community advisory committee tasked with voting on the proposed project.
Steve Cohen became the Mets’ owner after purchasing the MLB team for an impressive $2.4 billion in 2021 from the Wilpon and Katz families, just before the MLB season commenced.