A bill has been introduced in a New York State Senate Assembly Committee to discontinue land in Flushing Meadows Corona Park near Citi Field for use as a gaming facility.
Assembly Bill A5688 was filed on 22 March by Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry which, if passed, would authorise the city of New York to “discontinue the use as parkland and alienate certain land within Flushing Meadows Corona Park”.
Within the text of the bill, it states that if passed, leases for the land would be agreed upon with New Green Willets – the development firm of New York Mets Owner Steve Cohen, who has previously expressed an interest in opening a gaming facility near Citi Field.
The bill’s text states:
“The city of New York is authorized to discontinue the use as parkland and alienate through the entering of leases or other agreements with New Green Willets, LLC, its affiliates, and any other entity or entities the lands described in section three of this act for the purposes of developing, constructing, maintaining, operating, using, or occupying such lands with a gaming facility and, in conjunction with such facility, commercial, retail, entertainment, recreational, hotel, convention, and/or community facility uses, parking, and/or roadways, upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed upon by the city and such company, affiliate and other entity”.
The bill, which is currently in the ‘in committee’ phase, also adds that if construction of a gaming facility on the parklands doesn’t take place within 15 years of the act’s passing, the land will revert back to the city of New York.
The New York State Gaming Commission began the bidding process for the three commercial casino licences in January. Each will require applicants to pay a minimum capital investment and licence fee of $500m each.
Several casino operators have expressed interest in one of the three licences on offer including Caesars Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts, Mohegan Gaming, and Wynn Resorts.
Thor Equities, Saratoga Casino Holdings, Chickasaw Nation and Legends Hospitality also recently released image renderings and the official name – The Coney – of their proposed Coney Island casino.