Casino News

90% of Citi Field Locals Approve Casino Plans, finds Survey

After initial backlash against the owner of the New York Mets, Steven Cohen and his casino project for Citi Field in Queens, it seems that most residents do not mind it. A recent survey by Queens Future found that around 89% of the surveyed support the plans for a casino hotel in close proximity to Citi Field. But the bid would need to win one of the downstate licenses.

The survey was conducted on behalf of Mr. Cohen by North Shore Strategies and it heard the opinion of more than 10,000 locals in Corona, East Elmhurst, Flushing, LeFrak City, and Jackson Heights. All of these neighbourhoods are in close proximity to the ballpark. The questions were conducted in English, Mandarin, Korean, and Spanish, which are the most common languages in the said areas.

Results Could Be Misleading

However, the study could have been a little misleading as the questions were ambiguous. In the poll, participants were asked if they wanted to see Willets Point remain as 50 acres of undeveloped asphalt, or if they wanted to use it for something great for everyone. This led to 89% saying they prefer the latter, which can include a potential casino.

North Shore Strategies survey wants to transform Willet Point into a shared space that people can come and enjoy and be proud of. However, the presentation does not specify whether or not the canvassers directly asked respondents about their opinion on a gaming establishment. Over 32% want green space, 23% wish to see more jobs, and 16% are in favour of a Queens food hall.

Also, North Shore’s presentation features a “Community Voices” section, which includes quotes from community leaders. All of these approve of developing Willets Point and favour Mr. Cohen’s bid to that effect. However, none directly mentioned a casino property and due to the nature of the questions, some locals may not fully agree.

Casino in the Area is Far from Done

It should be explained that there are three available downstate casino licenses up for grabs, and in order to launch a gaming amenity near Citi Field, Mr. Cohen would need to land one of them. But it is easier said than done as plenty of third-party applicants have already submitted their proposals but in different areas and terms.

Some of the candidates include Las Vegas Sands which has set its sights on bringing a casino property to Long Island. However, the company’s bid has been opposed by a group titled Say No to the Casino Civic Association. In addition to that, Trustees from Hofstra University sent an open letter about the proposed gaming project labelling it “entirely inappropriate.”

In the meantime, Caesars Entertainment has partnered up with Roc Nation and SL Green to acquire one of the licenses and launch a casino in Times Square. But their bid has also faced local discontent. Broadway League part of the No Times Square Casino group said the project would worsen congestion in an already car-clogged neighbourhood.