Thor Equities, Saratoga Casino Holdings, the Chickasaw Nation, and Legends Hospitality are preparing a casino bid for Coney Island, but their plans were met by community opposition. Recently, Community Board 13 which is one of the 59 community boards in NYC, declared that it is against having a US$3-billion casino resort in the area which is already plagued by traffic.
At the start of the year, New York commenced its process for companies to submit their casino bids for the three available licenses in the downstate region. Currently, the process is headed by the Gaming Location Facility Board, which will have a say on the winning proposals before going for a final vote in the New York State Gaming Commission.
Community Disapproves the Project
Chair of CB13, Lucy Mujica Diaz the traffic in the neighbourhood was quite tedious and the board does not want to further worsen it. She said the community would not be able to endure the heavy burden and problems that a casino would generate. She urged local elected officials to address the neighbourhood’s current problems and not add more such as a casino to them.
Additionally, the CB13 resolution stated the board was hearing from its community and recommended opposing a casino project in the district while also calling officials to inform the New York State Gaming Commission of the decision. The resolution was passed by a 23-8 vote. It should be explained that the board’s stance has no legal bearing and cannot singlehandedly stop a potential project.
In response to that, the developers of the casino said the CB13 resolution was premature. Officials of the gaming consortium said they have surveyed Coney Island residents and have already collected more than 3,300 signatures in favour of the project. It believes that it would bring year-round jobs, generate economic growth, improve public safety, and revitalize the community.
In addition to that, in its statement, the consortium claimed that any judgements about the project before the full release of the details and community benefits were premature. It also believes that such assumptions leave the community struggling with the very same problems around unemployment, infrastructure, and public safety that it currently laments.
Getting a License Would Not be Easy
But in order for Thor Equities, Saratoga Casino Holdings, the Chickasaw Nation, and Legends Hospitality to acquire a license they would need to battle the competition. One of the competitors is Las Vegas Sands which in January expressed interest in the development of a multi-billion-dollar hospitality, and entertainment project on Long Island, NY.
Soloviev Group is one of the interested parties, and the company wants to bring a casino venue to Manhattan, NYC. In February 2023, the company bolstered its bid by revealing that it has selected leading land-based operator Mohegan Gaming. Titled Freedom Plaza, the site will come with a massive green area, a premium entertainment venue, a Ferris Wheel, a 1,000+ premier hotel, and two residential towers.
Source: O’Connor, Devin “Coney Island Community Board Opposes $3B Casino, Says ‘We Don’t Want It’” Casino.org, May 1, 2023