Saratoga Casino Holdings and its partners Thor Equities, the Chickasaw Nation and Legends Global Planning are set to pursue a downstate casino license for New York City. Their vision is to bring a Las Vegas-style gaming property worth US$3 billion to Coney Island on Stillwell Avenue and West 12th Street between Surf Avenue and Wonder Wheel Way.
Currently, there are three downstate casino licenses up for grabs, which attracted plenty of interest among development and casino companies. At the start of 2023, the Gaming Facility Location Board officially started the Request for Application process, which would allow interested parties to submit their bids for a casino. Winners should be announced before the year’s end.
Rating Their Chances
James Featherstonhaugh, who is a minority owner of Saratoga Casino and Hotel which operates the VLT venue and the harness track at Saratoga Springs, commented that’s tons of big companies are after the licenses. He is optimistic about the coalition’s bid as it is not only a casino and a hotel but it will also aim to rejuvenate an entire community in Coney Island.
Joseph J. Sitt, CEO of Thor Equities which is a real estate investment company, commented that on top of the casino and hotel, their commercial bid would also feature a roller coaster and a museum. However, in his words, this might be a long shot, as the suggested location is more than half of hour from midtown Manhattan, which is considered a seasonal destination and has limited hospitality options.
Meanwhile, CEO of Saratoga Casino Holdings, Sam Gerrity, shared that the company is looking forward to The Chickasaw Nation, Thor Equities, and Legends Global Planning bringing a casino to Coney Island which will boost the local economy. In his words, the project’s commitment would also support local residents and businesses and meet its promise to the area.
In the joint statement, the coalition noted that their partnership is extraordinary as it combines unrivalled gaming expertise, an unmatched track record in entertainment, and a commitment to serving the local community. It concluded by saying that the parties are excited to submit their bid and set a new standard in economic revitalization and resiliency for the state.
Fierce Competition Awaits
But even with all the positives in their project, the coalition is set to face severe competition from many companies and partnerships. One of those is SL Green and Caesars Entertainment, and Roc Nation who want to bring a gaming property to Times Square. In December their bid was boosted by a group of local labour unions who fancy its potential for the area.
Another interested party is Soloviev Group which intends in bringing a casino project to the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan. The company most recently announced that it has selected Mohegan Gaming as the casino operator in the bid. Freedom Plaza is set to feature a massive green area, a premium entertainment venue, a Ferris Wheel, a 1,000+ premier hotel, and two residential towers.
Source: Liberatore, Wendy “Saratoga Casino and partners seek New York City gambling license” Times Union, January 31, 2023