New York State Senator Jessica Ramos, a Democrat who represents the neighboring communities of the ballpark, has stated to the New York Post that she will not introduce a bill to change the current parkland designation of the land desired by Cohen for his proposed entertainment complex, which may potentially include a gaming venue.
The land adjacent to Citi Field, which Cohen is proposing as a potential location for a casino hotel and other entertainment ventures, has been designated as part of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park for more than eighty years. To change this parkland designation, legislative action is required.
Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry (D-Queens) introduced a bill in March to address this matter. However, the legislation still requires a companion bill in the Senate, approval from both the Senate and Governor Kathy Hochul (D-NY).
Citi Field Casino Faces a Setback with Ramos’ Decision
In the ever-changing realm of New York politics, anything is possible. However, it seems that State Senator Ramos’s decision not to support a bill regarding parkland alienation is currently a setback for the Citi Field casino initiative.
The limited remaining time in the current legislative session is one of the reasons why this matter is unlikely to be addressed. The New York Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on June 8, leaving only 12 working days left when accounting for the Memorial Day holiday on May 29.
Another factor is the level of support for a casino among businesses and residents in the Citi Field area. Surveys conducted on behalf of Cohen and affiliated groups indicate significant support for the project. However, Senator Ramos stated that nearly two-thirds of attendees at a recent town hall in Queens expressed their opposition to a casino in the neighborhood.
Additionally, there is the question of whether lawmakers find the idea of a second gaming venue in Queens appealing. Resorts World New York, located less than 10 miles from Citi Field, is widely expected to secure one of the three downstate gaming licenses that the state will eventually award.
Growing Resistance Against New York Casinos Mounts
The competition for the three downstate casino permits has led to several operators facing criticism from civic groups in the communities where they are proposing gaming venues.
Over the weekend, approximately 100 residents assembled to express their concerns regarding Las Vegas Sands’ proposal to transform the Nassau Coliseum area into a casino hotel. Opposition against a gaming venue in Times Square has been ongoing, with Caesars Entertainment, Jay-Z, and SL Green spearheading that particular project.
In Brooklyn, community groups and policymakers have made it clear that they do not support a casino project in Coney Island.