New Plans for an $8 Billion Hard Rock Casino Resort in New York

state is one of the most renowned regions of America worldwide, famous as the home to Wall Street, Niagara Falls, Thousand Islands, and many more globally recognized sites. It has a total area of 54.5 square miles, yet houses 19.6 million people, and despite what loads of individuals think in North America, New York has never had a very liberal stance towards gambling. That is so despite the fact it has a vibrant economy and a tremendously cosmopolitan culture. It was not until 2001, in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack, that the state chose to legalize Native American gaming venues and VLT (Video Lottery Terminals) at some of its racetracks as a fund-raising measure. In 2013, the state’s constitution was amended when NY voters decided to approve Vegas-style casinos.

So far, New York City has only one high-quality land-based gambling establishment, Resorts World New York City, on 110-00 Rockaway Blvd in Queens. However, that may soon change, as American hedge-fund manager Steve Cohen, the owner of the New York Mets, recently announced plans to add another premium gaming locale in Queens. One that would be right next to the Citi Field baseball stadium, found at the current site of this entertainment complex’s parking lot, a fifty-acre one.

For this project, Cohen has teamed up with Hard Rock International. That is a globally famed gaming brand that operates venues in seventy countries, boasting two hundred and sixty-five locations. It is also the owner of the most valuable collection of musical memorabilia. It also has online gambling departments that operate as Hard Rock Digital. New York State legalized online sports betting in January 2022, and the current status of New York online gambling, relating to casino sites, is positive due to a new bill push by Sen. Joseph Addabbo.

Field Operations, a leading-edge landscape architecture NYC design firm, would be tasked to envision Cohen’s gaming complex, which, for now, bears the name Metropolitan Park. If the parties involved would get the much-desired license, they would require the state to pass a distinct bill that will annex the technically state-owned parkland, and according to Spectrum Gaming, this potential Queens casino could have yearly revenues up to $1.9 billion.

The Public’s Support for Cohen’s Gaming Venue

Queens Future and Steve Cohen released a novel poll regarding their Metropolitan Park casino proposal, which showed sizeable support for the $8 billion project in the Senate District 13, the Citi Field region. The poll, conducted on behalf of the mentioned parties, demonstrated that over sixty percent of the registered voters supported the construction of a gaming establishment in this part of New York City.

These results oppose those from Jessica Ramos, a Democratic New York State Senator, who showed that 75% of people polled are not in favor of the idea of adding a casino in the Citi Field neighborhood. The poll conducted by Slingshot Strategies was financed by an unidentified Jessica Ramos donor, who paid $27,500 for it. It involved four hundred and thirty-two State Senate District 13 registered voters. That pool included people living in the Jackson Heights, Woodside, Corona, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, and Astoria areas.

According to those closely familiar with both these pieces of research that aim to examine the level of interest for a new casino in the Queens area, the discrepancies between them lie primarily in the fact that Cohen’s poll includes many people who do not live in the district. Using the available data, Cohen’s survey featured two hundred and fifty individuals, from a total of six hundred, who are not Queens residents. Hence, this likely swayed it more in Cohen’s project’s favor.

NYC Casino Licenses Will Likely Get Issued in Late 2025

According to new reports, the bidding process for commercial casinos (three) in the NY downstate area that opened in January 2023 will probably conclude near the end of 2025. That is a date that many parties will find super disappointing, which stems from the extensive environmental implications of these novel properties, which must be detailly reviewed. Robert Williams, New York State Gaming Commission’s executive director, recently stated that this procedure is unlikely to conclude in the first quarter of 2025, and a more probable date is the fourth quarter of that year. That leaves an opening for the submitted parties to modify their applications.

Also, this process’s end date can be extended due to Uniform Land Use Review Procedures. All applicants must carry this out, and they can only complete it after the first half of 2025. They must also show that their projects can be fully funded before they are considered for a license. Therefore, Williams has asked all applicants to carefully analyze their proposals, ensuring they meet the listed requirements.

Aside from the Cohen Hard Rock combo, the list of other applicants starts with Caesars Entertainment, which has entered a partnership with SL Green Realty. The Las Vegas Sands is also in play, and they are looking to build a venue on Long Island. And MGM hopes to modify its Empire City Casino on Yonkers Avenue into a full-scale commercial gambling establishment.

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