Initially opposed by some members of the public, a casino proposal for Coney Island has now gained some community support. According to a group of companies who placed the bid for the project, over 10,000 Brooklyn residents have signed a petition to back The Coney, which is a project aiming to launch a US$3 billion casino resort on the famous boardwalk.
The group behind the gaming project consists of Thor Equities, the Chickasaw Nation, Legends Hospitality and Saratoga Casino Holdings. But in order to build one at the location, the group would need to obtain one of the three commercial gaming licenses for downstate New York. Currently, the Gaming Facility Location Board reviews applications.
Gaining More Community Support
Text from the petition read that “as a Southern Brooklyn resident, you support creating jobs and new economic growth by establishing a new casino and entertainment district.” It also said that the local community, families, and small businesses have been shortchanged and that they have been waiting for economic opportunities that this project will finally make a reality.
A few months ago, the gaming coalition reported that former NYC council member Robert Cornegy and others involved with the bid had knocked on more than 16,000 doors and collected 3,363 signatures at the time. After several months, the group collected another 6,700 signatures and Mr. Cornegy and the team behind the proposal are quite confident of the project's chances.
According to The Coney group, its gaming project would potentially generate 4,000 permanent gambling and hospitality jobs. Also, the group promises that there will be a local hiring preference, powered by local recruiting and job fairs within the Coney Island community. But it remains to be seen whether it is enough for the Empire State to place its bets on it.
Additionally, the Coney Island bid also touts detractors, as Community Board 13, composed of unsalaried members, serves in advisory and consultative roles on issues regarding land use and zoning. CB13 also took a vote and greenlit a resolution to oppose the project. Its reasoning behind the decision included crime traffic and other ancillary issues.
Opposition Faces Local Disapproval
It should also be mentioned that some of the Coney Island casino bid's competitors have faced local opposition, which boosts the project's chances. This includes a bid for Caesars Palace Times Square launched by SL Green, Caesars Entertainment and joined by Roc Nation. Still, their bid to develop a gaming property is considered among the leading proposals.
In addition to that, Las Vegas Sands which wants to bring an integrated casino resort at Nassau County on Long Island, also saw disapproval from locals. Trustees from Hofstra University sent an open letter about the proposed gaming project labelling it “entirely inappropriate.” The project is also opposed by a group titled, Say No to the Casino Civic Association.
Source: Danzis, David “Coney Island Casino Project Gaining Local Support, Group Says” PlayNY, August 25, 2023