State Senator voices disapproval of Mets owner’s $8B casino

New York Mets Casino Senator Disapproval
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New York State Sen. Jessica Ramos is voicing her opposition to a proposed $8 billion casino and entertainment complex by Mets owner Steve Cohen and partner Hard Rock Casino.

Ramos has notified Cohen and Hard Rock of her decision to not move forward with legislation that would allow the project, Metropolitan Park, to be a reality. The Senator has vowed to not introduce a bill that would turn a piece of state-owned property into commercial use for a parking lot. The lot sits next to Citi Field, the Mets’ home since 2009.

“I will not introduce legislation to alienate parkland in Corona for the purposes of a casino,” said Ramos in a statement. “We want investment and opportunity, we are desperate for green space, and recreation for the whole family. We disagree on the premise that we have to accept a casino in our backyard as the trade-off.”

The proposed project next to Citi Field, which has been in consideration for nearly two years, also features a 20-acre park, conference facility, hotel, music venue, and Queens Food Hall.  The complex is estimated to add at least 15,000 jobs to New York’s economy.

Cohen and Hard Rock are facing resistance as they actively compete for one of three available downstate casino licenses being offered by the New York State Gaming Commission. If awarded the available license, an operator must pay a $500,000 fee.

Cohen and Hard Rock are on a time constraint to garner any substantial legislative support for the project as the regular 2024 session comes to a close on June 6.

Stiff competition in New York

Cohen and Hard Rock are competing for the license with some of the largest entities in gaming.

In March, Resorts World New York City unveiled plans to redevelop its casino into an entertainment resort. The project, which requires one of the three available licenses, includes a Las Vegas-style casino, retail spaces, employee housing, and new hotel rooms.

As of May 2024, Resorts World only accepts wagers on horse racing and slot machines.

Wynn Resorts is also vying for the available license. The entertainment and hospitality giant has proposed a development project at Hudson Yards in partnership with real estate firm Related Companies. Wynn could create up to 40,000 new jobs with the project, which features office space, a residential building, a 5.6-acre park, and a recreational area.