New York Developers Plan Casinos for Hudson Yards, Times Square, Willets Point, Coney Island

New York game developers and operators are putting their chips on the table in a frantic bid for the right to open local casinos, including in Times Square and Hudson Yards, The Post has learned.

Some of the other sites being considered are Willets Point near the Mets Citi Field baseball stadium in Queens and Coney Island in Brooklyn, according to people familiar with the plans.

The state Gaming Commission is authorized to issue up to three licenses in the southern region of the Big Apple, and Mayor Eric Adams said he wants at least two of the licenses granted to the city .

Real estate giants Related Companies in Hudson Yards and Vornado and SL Green in Times Square are interested in forming partnerships with casino giants such as Hard Rock, Sands and Wynn for local venues, industry and government sources said. .

Developer and casino representatives briefed Adams’ office, as well as Governor Kathy Hochul and state officials, on their preliminary plans, sources said.

Officials from related companies met with City Hall to discuss a proposal to build a casino on train tracks in the far west.

Related Companies Chairman Stephen Ross is a major contributor to Hochul, the largest casino contest that oversees state gambling regulators.

A representative of Related Companies, the main developer of the Hudson Yards on the West Side, has confirmed its interest in building a casino in Manhattan.

Hudson Yards developer Related Companies is investigating a potential casino on the West Side.
Hudson Yards developer Related Companies is investigating a potential casino on the West Side.
William Farrington

“We are exploring our options,” associate spokesperson Jon Weinstein told The Post on Sunday.

Sources familiar with the talks said Hudson Yards has enough space to build a casino, as well as the transportation infrastructure to get people to and from a gambling establishment. No. 7 and Penn Station are nearby. The site is also close to the Javits Convention Center.

Mets owner Steve Cohen and his associates — who have a good relationship with Adams — have also spoken to town hall about the possibility of building a local casino, sources said.

Thor Equities also discussed building a casino at Coney Island, an insider said.

Business tycoon John Catsimatidis, who developed the Ocean Drive waterfront residences along the Coney Island waterfront, has also expressed support for opening a casino there.

“A casino would be a wonderful thing for Coney Island and Brooklyn,” Catsimatidis said Sunday. “A Coney Island casino would bring a lot of vigor to Brooklyn.”

Thor Equities would be interested in building a casino at Coney Island.
Thor Equities would be interested in building a casino at Coney Island.
Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

On the casino side, Hard Rock said it had already joined the party.

He just donated $119,000 to the Democratic Party in the state controlled by Governor Hochul and contributed more than six figures to the governor’s campaign, according to fundraising records filed with the Board of Elections in the state.

Hard Rock lobbyists also met with City Hall Chief of Staff Frank Carone about their plans to build a casino, lobbying records show. Hard Rock executives discussed partnering with the Mets’ Cohen for a Willets’ Point casino.

A selling point: Willet’s Point is easily accessible using the #7 subway, the Long Island Rail Road and the Grand Central Parkway and the Long Island Expressway and has a large population just minutes away in Flushing, a potential gambling district, sources said.

Mets owner Steve Cohen reportedly spoke to town hall about a casino near Citi Field in Willets Point.
Mets owner Steve Cohen spoke to town hall about a casino near Citi Field in Willets Point, sources said.
NY POST Photo/Corey Sipkin

Meanwhile, Sands CEO Rob Goldstein also met with Carone about a Big Apple casino, a source familiar with the talks said.

In terms of supporting any local project, Carone noted to The Post, “Casinos provide well-paying union jobs.”

Two existing slots at state racetracks – Resorts World/Genting at Aqueduct in Queens and Empire City/MGM at Yonkers in Westchester County – have been in operation for over a decade and will require full licensing to expand and offer live table games. If these two sites are selected, there will be a fight for the only remaining license for a new casino in the downstate.

But opening a casino anywhere in the city – especially in Manhattan – won’t be easy.

Under state law, gambling interests will need to seek community support.

Funders would need to get two-thirds approval from a six-member Community Advisory Board for the area where a casino is proposed. Representatives should include individuals nominated by the borough president, local state senator and assemblyman, and city council member, as well as the governor and mayor.

Unless the proposed casino is on state-owned property, it would also have to be approved under the city’s lengthy land use review process that requires city council approval.

The situation gives community activists and local elected officials tremendous leverage in the selection process.

Other controversial projects on Manhattan’s west side have ended up in the graveyard, including former Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s proposed Olympic Stadium and the Westway Freeway.

“I strongly oppose a Manhattan casino in concept,” State Senator Brad Hoylman, who represents the Hudson Yards and Times Square neighborhoods, told The Post on Sunday.

“I don’t know a single voter who wants a casino,” he said. “The outside forces want a casino. The insiders who live here don’t want a casino.

Studies have also questioned the economic benefits of land-based casinos in the digital age. The area is saturated with gaming parlors, say critics.

But the New York government stands to benefit from billions of dollars in revenue.

The state should recover at least $500 million for each casino license, or at least $1.5 billion.

Tax rates will ultimately be determined through the licensing bidding process, but the law says they cannot be less than 25% of slot revenue and 10% of gaming revenue of table.

Tax rates will likely be higher. The four upstate casinos all pay between 30% and 40%.

The gaming commission will appoint members of a casino board by October 4. The council will then have 90 days to issue a request for proposals.

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