Some Brooklyn residents are not happy with plans for a casino in Coney Island. A report by Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso’s office finds that locals are skeptical and concerned about a potential gaming property in the borough. It indicates that there were three times as many comments against the project as comments in favour of it.
The bid for the casino belongs to the coalition of Thor Equities Group, the Chickasaw Nation, Saratoga Casino Holdings and Legends Hospitality Group and it was presented a few months ago. If their proposal gets one of the three downstate licenses, then it gaming resort would also come with a hotel, and public park space, while also creating approximately 4,000 jobs.
The Community is Mostly Against a Casino
Reynoso’s report is compiled from feedback from community forums with over 200 questions addressing the casino matter. Many of the observations expressed concerns about a potential casino causing problem gambling, while also affecting housing costs, and possibly leading to increased crime and traffic. There was also some optimism, as the project would create jobs.
One of the comments addressed Thor Equities directly, saying that at any time they could have taken a more active interest in the neighbourhood by addressing many of the things they are now promising to do in exchange for our support of their casino proposal. Joseph Sitt, a chief executive company who is a long-term property owner in Coney Island described the casino bid as an underdog.
Mr. Reynoso is yet to take a position on the topic and is holding out to see further information. If the companies submit an application to the state board to continue to process further, committees will review the bid. In addition to all necessary zoning permits, the bid would also need to get two-thirds approval from that committee before it can even move forward for consideration by the state board.
The borough president said it was normal to see negative input to a casino, and explained the point of the forums was to allow residents to voice their concerns in case the proposal moves forward. He added that everyone should be included in the talks, and indicated that if the casino proceeds, he wants to hear what people want to upgrade in the neighbourhood.
Competition is Strong
However, in order for the casino to come to life, Thor Equities and their partners would need to land one of the three downstate gaming licenses. But the competition is quite fearsome. Las Vegas Sands is one of the interested parties and the company is even considered a frontrunner by Wells Fargo analyst Daniel Politzer. The aim is to launch a casino resort in Nassau County, NY.
The start of the month saw a late bid from Larry Silverstein who wants to bring a casino to 2.1-acre land on Manhattan’s West Side at 41st Street and 11th Avenue. For the Avenir project, the developer partnered with Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment. If it materializes the site would feature a sky bridge, casino on eight floors, 1000 hotel rooms, and more.
Source: McDonough, Annie “Coney Island casino idea draws local opposition” City & State New York, July 11, 2023