Group will pitch Coney Island casino for downstate NYC license

Thor Equities Coney Island Casino
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Another group is throwing its hat in the ring to obtain one of the three forthcoming downstate casino licenses in New York. This group consists of a wide range of groups, including Saratoga Casino Holdings, the Chickasaw Nation’s Global Gaming Solutions (GGS), and Legends Global Planning, the company behind numerous tourist attractions and stadiums including SoFi Stadium and One World Observatory. Real estate investment firm Thor Equities is helping to lead up the venture

The proposed casino would be on Coney Island, but the release announcing the plans was short on details beyond that. The project is a proposed $3 billion investment that would create over 2,500 jobs for the community. The final product would be a casino, hotel, and entertainment complex.

“New York will always be our home and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to reclaim Coney Island’s legacy and bring new economic possibilities to an iconic neighborhood,” said Chairman of Thor Equities Group, Joe Sitt. “With our incredible partners, we are committed to creating lasting prosperity for a community and its residents and turn Coney Island into a vibrant year-round destination for all to enjoy. Together we have the track record across development, operations, gaming, entertainment, and job creation that is best suited to bring Coney Island security and vitality for the next century.”

The group involved does cover a wide range of expertise in both gambling and hospitality. Saratoga, for example, has its namesake track in upstate New York in addition to facilities in Colorado and Mississippi.

“My family has done business in New York for generations, including opening the first non-tribal casino in 2004 which has contributed over $1.2 billion to New York State education,” said Sam Gerrity, CEO of Saratoga Casino Holdings LLC. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Thor Equities, LLC and Global Gaming Solutions, LLC, two world-class organizations, to bring a community-friendly gaming and entertainment venue to Coney Island.”

The Chickasaw Nation does not currently have a presence in New York but it does manage the largest casino in the world, WinStar World Casino and Resort in Oklahoma.

“We currently enjoy an excellent strategic partnership with Legends at our flagship property WinStar World Casino and Resort. Our investment and involvement in this project reflects a desire to expand that relationship and extend it to additional strategic partners in Thor and Saratoga,” Global Gaming Board Chairman Bill Lance said. “We look forward to a successful collaboration based on our combined strengths and perhaps most importantly – our shared commitment to develop a top-tier entertainment venue that promises to respect the history of the neighborhood and breathe new life into this iconic New York City landmark. We look forward to taking our partnership with Legends – a known and trusted entity in New York – to even greater heights.”

Legends’ role in the project is to create an entertainment experience and a keen understanding of the market, as the company originally began as a joint venture between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees. The company’s experience in mixed-use hospitality facilities will also be of use.

The proposed Coney Island casino has the backing of the local Chamber of Commerce as well.

“This project will finally stimulate our local economy in a way that turns Coney Island into a year-round destination. Most importantly, it will create all-year full-time employment for our local residents who can grow their career and serve the community they grew up,” said Randy Peers, President & CEO, of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

The board that will evaluate casino proposals is set. The request for proposal (RFP) period should begin in January 2023.