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Final Decision on New Queens Casino Expected

After months of intense negotiation and public pushback, New York State Senator Jessica Ramos went public by saying she is nearing a decision about whether or not to endorse a new casino and resort at Citi Field’s complex in Queens. Citi Field is home to the New York Mets. Steve Cohen owns the Mets.

This past Wednesday was the third and most pivotal of the new Queens Casino project, otherwise billed as the Metropolitan Park measure. Cohen officially bid and pitched to the City Council about the benefits the estimated $8 billion Queens Casino complex could bring. If approved, the casino would be constructed on the designated parkland owned by New York City.

Hearing the formal pitch is one thing, but making the Queens Casino a reality is a different matter. If State Senator Ramos goes forward, she would have to put forth a bill before the state legislature in Albany. The main hurdle would be undoing the restrictions on the designated city-owned land.

If that is successful, Steve Cohen must procure one of three upcoming casino gaming licenses controlled by New York’s Gaming Commission. These New York gaming licenses are expected to receive bids in the next year and a half. New York’s gaming licenses are among the most expensive in the nation, ranging between $20 to $50 million.

The push to build a new Queens Casino isn’t the first attempt. Last year, New York Assemblyman Jeff Aubry authored a similar measure, but it ultimately fell flat. If Ramos gives the green light, she and Aubry will have to work with haste because any legislation approved this year must be entered into the dockets before the legislature commences in June.

The Metropolitan Park project is being marketed as a job creator, which is estimating roughly more than 10,000 construction jobs alone. Furthermore, New York’s labor unions continue getting full-throat support behind the Queens Casino.

It is reported that the Queens Casino would occupy 20 acres and include a new hotel resort with a dedicated concert hall. There will also be new restaurants and bars with the goal of connecting Citi Field’s pre-existing fan base.

Unlike previous encounters to get the Queens Casino off the ground, many local residents from surrounding areas, like Elmhurst, appeared more receptive. The Phoenix Meadow Plan previously expressed concerns that a casino in the area could negatively impact long-term residents, especially African American communities.

The Metropolitan Park project, if approved, could serve as an ally to finally make legal New York online casinos a reality in The Empire State. Backed by the immediate financial windfalls from sports betting, New York Senator Joe Addabbo is working on introducing a bill that pushes explicitly for legal online casinos. It is believed that state-sanctioned iGaming in The Empire State could produce an additional $1 billion in revenue.

The plan is for 20 online casino apps to operate in The Empire State. A percentage of the proceeds would go to compulsive gambling care, while other proceeds would go toward New York’s public school system.

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