Billionaire Steve Cohen Eyes New York Casino
Billionaire Steve Cohen is vying for a license to build a casino adjacent to the Mets’ Citi Field in Queens. Cohen owns the Mets.
The space is currently a parking lot and park.
According to Bloomberg, Cohen has hired a team of lobbyists to work on the project. The State of New York is charging $500 million for each license and requiring a minimum $500 million investment. Cohen has a net worth of $13.1 billion, according to Bloomberg.
Cohen “has hired eight firms, employing nearly two dozen lobbyists to woo elected officials across city and state government as well as the local community,” the report said. “By 2025, a Queens casino could be generating $1.9 billion in revenue annually, according to an analysis from Spectrum Gaming.”
Cohen doesn’t currently own any casinos in the U.S. He would reportedly partner with Seminole Hard Rock to develop the casino.
According to the report, “details of what he hopes to build and how many jobs it would create won’t be publicly available until the state issues a final deadline for bidders to submit their offers.”
For months, Cohen has talked about “reimaging” the space around Citi Field. “We have been listening to the local community who keeps telling us there is more they want from the area,” Cohen said in a statement. “Everyone agrees that the status quo isn’t acceptable. We are committed to putting forward a vision for the area that will create a shared space that people not only want to come to and enjoy, but can be proud of.”
The area around Citi Field has been 50 acres of vacant asphalt and “wasted opportunity that isn’t serving the community to its full potential,” his lobbying group added.
Cohen’s casino would be able to have a sportsbook. New York State emerged as the nation’s leading sports betting market after just one year of operation.
At one-year anniversary of mobile sports wagering in New York State, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the state collected more than $709.2 million in taxes on such bets. An additional $200 million in licensing fees had also been collected, generating a total of more than $909 million in revenue, most of it to be used for education.
“In just one year, New York has become a national leader in providing responsible entertainment for millions while bringing in record-shattering revenue for education, youth sports, and problem gambling prevention,” Governor Hochul said.
Lawmakers in Albany have also looked at legalizing online poker and online casino gambling. Sports betting is allowed in person and over the internet.