Steve Cohen’s $8 Billion Casino Plan Dealt Blow by Key Lawmaker

A Queens state senator whose support is critical to Mets owner Steve Cohen’s plan to build an $8 billion casino and entertainment complex next to Citi Field said she won’t introduce legislation needed to move the project forward.

Bloomberg
First Published28 May 2024
Steve Cohen’s $8 Billion Casino Plan Dealt Blow by Key Lawmaker
Steve Cohen’s $8 Billion Casino Plan Dealt Blow by Key Lawmaker

(Bloomberg) -- A Queens state senator whose support is critical to Mets owner Steve Cohen’s plan to build an $8 billion casino and entertainment complex next to Citi Field said she won’t introduce legislation needed to move the project forward.

The decision by Senator Jessica Ramos of Queens, a progressive Democrat, deals a potentially fatal blow to Cohen’s chances of winning one of three available state licenses to build a casino in the New York City area. The legislation is needed to allow a parking lot that sits on state-owned parkland to be used for commercial purposes.

“I will not introduce legislation to alienate parkland in Corona for the purposes of a casino,” Ramos said in a statement Tuesday, adding that while she believed constituents “want investment and opportunity” and “are desperate for green space and recreation,” she disagreed with the premise “that we have to accept a casino in our backyard as the trade-off.”

Many other local elected officials have already said they support Cohen’s proposal, but Ramos has withheld her endorsement for months, as Cohen and his team courted her approval.

“I resent the conditions and the generations of neglect that have made many of us so desperate that we would be willing to settle,” Ramos said. 

Hedge fund billionaire Cohen revealed plans late last year to partner with Hard Rock International on the casino and entertainment complex called Metropolitan Park, which would be sited on a 50-acre parking lot next to Citi Field, where the New York Mets play. 

Read More: Steve Cohen to Partner With Hard Rock on $8 Billion Casino Bid

Ramos, who is considered a potential candidate for New York City mayor, is an influential state senator who chairs the Senate’s Labor Committee, and it’s unlikely the Democrat-led legislature would move forward on a bill to change the status of the parkland without her support. 

Karl Rickett, a spokesperson for Metropolitan Park, said “the state never intended any one person to have the ability to single-handedly stop or approve a gaming project.” He cited what he called overwhelming support from other local elected officials and insisted that there’s “over a year and multiple pathways to secure the required approvals.”

“Our team remains committed to bringing Metropolitan Park to life, with gaming as the only viable economic engine to make the 23,000 jobs, $8 billion investment and substantial community benefits possible,” Rickett said.

Speaking at a briefing in Albany Tuesday, Ramos said she would be surprised to see Senate leadership support legislation to go over her objections and that she would oppose any such effort. Mike Murphy, a spokesperson for state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, said any alternative measure is unlikely to move in the chamber this year. The regular 2024 session ends June 6.

Cohen has put extraordinary muscle, money and time into his casino proposal, hiring more than a half-dozen lobbying firms and spending millions on community listening sessions to persuade local residents to support his plan. As designed, the casino and entertainment complex would include 20 acres of new park space, athletic fields, a renovated mass transit station and a food hall with local purveyors.

Cohen is among roughly a dozen other applicants who are vying for one of the three available state licenses to build a full-scale casino in New York City and the surrounding suburban counties. 

If approved, the casino would likely be lucrative for Cohen. An analysis from Spectrum Gaming published in 2021 found a Queens-based casino could generate $1.9 billion in annual revenue by the year 2025.  

Ramos said in the statement that she had drafted an alternative piece of legislation that would allow Cohen and Hard Rock International to build a convention center, hotel and park space on the parking lot site, without a casino. 

“Mr. Cohen and Hard Rock would still make a profit, albeit less,” Ramos said. 

(Updates with comments from Ramos briefing in 10th paragraph)

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.MoreLess
HomeNewsSteve Cohen’s $8 Billion Casino Plan Dealt Blow by Key Lawmaker

Most Active Stocks

Bharat Electronics

309.55
10:29 AM | 14 JUN 2024
8.6 (2.86%)

Indian Oil Corporation

170.30
10:25 AM | 14 JUN 2024
1.2 (0.71%)

HDFC Bank

1,597.45
10:28 AM | 14 JUN 2024
16.55 (1.05%)

State Bank Of India

840.20
10:29 AM | 14 JUN 2024
-3.7 (-0.44%)
More Active Stocks

Market Snapshot

  • Top Gainers
  • Top Losers
  • 52 Week High

JK Paper

490.70
10:25 AM | 14 JUN 2024
44.35 (9.94%)

KRBL

310.05
10:22 AM | 14 JUN 2024
23.05 (8.03%)

Poly Medicure

2,003.00
09:59 AM | 14 JUN 2024
142.9 (7.68%)

KEC International

935.20
10:25 AM | 14 JUN 2024
66.25 (7.62%)
More from Top Gainers

Recommended For You

    More Recommendations

    Gold Prices

    • 24K
    • 22K
    Bangalore
    73,806.00577.00
    Chennai
    73,806.00148.00
    Delhi
    73,735.00291.00
    Kolkata
    73,088.00-141.00

    Fuel Price

    • Petrol
    • Diesel
    Bangalore
    99.84/L0.00
    Chennai
    100.75/L0.00
    Kolkata
    103.94/L0.00
    New Delhi
    94.72/L0.00
    OPEN IN APP
    HomeMarketsPremiumInstant LoanGet App