NYC developers eyeing casinos for Hudson Yards, Times Square, Willets Point, Coney Island

New York Post
NYC developers eyeing casinos for Hudson Yards, Times Square, Willets Point, Coney Island
Wild Casino

New York City developers and gaming operators are putting their chips on the table in a frenzied bid for the right to open local casinos, including in Times Square and Hudson Yards, The Post has learned.

Some of the other sites being eyed are Willets Point near the Mets Citi Field ballpark in Queens and Brooklyn’s Coney Island, according to sources familiar with the plans.

The state Gaming Commission is authorized to issue up to three licenses in the Big Apple downstate region, and Mayor Eric Adams has said he wants at least two of the licenses given to the city.

Real-estate giants Related Companies in Hudson Yards and Vornado and SL Green in Times Square are interested in forming partnerships with casino behemoths such as Hard Rock, Sands and Wynn for local venues, industry and government sources said.

Representatives with the developers and casinos have apprised Adams’ office, as well as Gov. Kathy Hochul and state officials, of their preliminary plans, sources said.

Officials from Related Companies have met with City Hall to discuss a proposal to build a casino over rail tracks on the far West Side.

is a hefty donor to Hochul, the biggest player in the casino sweepstakes who oversees the state’s gambling regulators.

A rep for Related Companies, the major developer of the West Side’s Hudson Yards, confirmed interest in building a casino in Manhattan.

“We’re exploring our options,” Related spokesman Jon Weinstein told The Post on Sunday.  

Sources familiar with the discussions said Hudson Yards has ample space to build a casino, along with the transportation infrastructure needed to get people to and from a gaming facility. The No. 7 and Penn Station stations are nearby. The site also is close to the Javits convention center.

Mets owner Steve Cohen and his associates — who have good relations with Adams — have spoken to City Hall about potentially building a local casino, too, sources said.

Thor Equities has discussed erecting a casino in Coney Island, as well, an insider said.

Business mogul John Catsimatidis, who developed the Ocean Drive waterfront residences along the Coney Island oceanfront, also has expressed support for opening a casino there.

“A casino would be a wonderful thing for Coney Island and Brooklyn,” Catsimatidis said Sunday. “A Coney Island casino would bring a lot of vigor to Brooklyn.”

On the casino side, Hard Rock has indicated it has already joined the party.

It just donated $119,000 to the Gov. Hochul-controlled state Democratic Party and has contributed more than six figures to the governor’s election campaign, according to fund-raising records filed with the state Board of Elections.

Hard Rock’s lobbyists also have met with City Hall Chief of Staff Frank Carone about wanting to build a casino, lobbying records show. Hard Rock executives have discussed a partnership with the Mets’ Cohen for a Willets’ Point casino.

A selling point: Willet’s Point is easily accessible using the No. 7 subway train, the Long Island Rail Road and the Grand Central Parkway and Long Island Expressway and has a large population just minutes away in Flushing, a potential gambling constituency, sources said.

Meanwhile, Sands CEO Rob Goldstein also has met with Carone about a Big Apple casino, a source close to the discussions said. 

In terms of support for any local project, Carone noted to The Post, “Casinos provide good-paying union jobs.”

Two existing slots parlors at state horse-race tracks — Resorts World/Genting at Aqueduct in Queens and the Empire City/MGM at Yonkers in Westchester County — have been in business for more than a decade and will apply for a full license to expand and offer live table games. If those two sites are selected, there will be a fight for the one remaining license for a new downstate casino.

But opening a casino anywhere in the city — particularly in Manhattan — won’t be easy.

Under state law, gaming interests are going to need to woo community support.

Backers would have to win approval from two-thirds of a six-member community advisory board for the area where a casino is proposed. The reps are to include appointees from the borough president, local state senator and assembly member and City Council member, as well as the governor and mayor.

Unless the proposed casino is on state-owned property, it also would have to be approved according to the city’s lengthy land-use review procedure that needs the blessing of the City Council.

The situation gives community activists and local elected officials tremendous leverage in the selection process.

Other controversial projects on Manhattan’s West Side have ended up in the graveyard — notably former Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s proposed Olympic stadium and the Westway highway.

“I strongly oppose a Manhattan casino in concept,” said state Sen. Brad Hoylman, who represents the Hudson Yards and Times Square neighborhoods, to The Post on Sunday.

“I don’t know one constituent who wants a casino,” he said. “Outside forces want a casino. Insiders who live here don’t want a casino.”

Studies have questioned the economic benefits of land-based casinos in the digital age, too. The region is saturated with gambling parlors, critics say.

But New York government stands to benefit from billions of dollars in revenues.

The state is expected to fetch at least $500 million for each casino license — or least $1.5 billion.

The tax rates will ultimately be determined by the competitive bidding process for the licenses, but the law says they can’t be less than 25% of slot revenue and 10% of table game revenue.

The tax rates will likely be higher. The four upstate casinos all pay between 30% and 40%.

The gaming commission will appoint members to a casino siting board by October 4. The board will then have 90 days to issue a request for bids.