Borough President Provides Forum For New York Casino Proposal

Written By Derek Helling on March 7, 2023
Coney Island Weighs In On New York Casinos

The staff of Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso has plenty of work to keep them busy. The inevitable expansion of New York casinos into the densely populated downstate region provided all they can handle and more.

On Monday, Reynoso held two meetings in which people gave their opinions on a proposal to build a casino on Coney Island. Like Reynoso himself, it appears the local community is undecided.

New York casinos draw mixed reactions

For Monday’s meetings, Reynoso’s staff created poster boards with information on them about Thor Equities’ plan to build a casino on Coney Island according to James Ford of PIX11. The staff then put them on display during the meetings at the Coney Island YMCA.

The staff then distributed slips of paper and writing utensils to people who wished to comment. After writing their thoughts, commenters had to attach them to the relevant posters on display. Reynoso’s staff will review the comments and compile them into a report on community support (or lack thereof).

While Ford reports that some attendees would have preferred to share their comments verbally, that wasn’t the only thing Coney Island residents shared displeasure with.

According to Ford, activists and residents in the area raised concerns about the casino escalating crime in the area. Additionally, they expressed worries that the casino would not be the economic boon that Thor Equities promises.

At the same time, other voices were sharing different views on the matter.

Some residents shared a belief that a casino would bring new jobs and new traffic to local businesses. Reynoso echoed the various sentiments in his comments.

Reynoso discloses his opinion

According to Catalina Gonella of Gothamist, Reynoso is still on the fence.

“I don’t know how I feel yet. I want to be honest. Ultimately, what I want is for Coney Island to be taken care of. That’s what I care about more than anything. And whatever decision the state wants to make here, I want the community involved. That’s what I’m doing here.”

Ultimately, Reynoso’s opinion might count. Part of the formula that the New York State Gaming Commission will use to determine which bidders will receive casino licenses is community support. What’s uncertain, however, is just how much that will count toward the final tallies.

Also at play are many other factors like environmental impacts, how quickly a prospective casino could open, and the almighty dollar. Thor has partners in the Chickasaw Nation, Legends Entertainment, and Saratoga Casino Holdings. That means deep pockets and important connections.

Other bids are similarly competitive, though. Companies like Caesars and individuals like New York Mets owner Steven Cohen are in the running as well.

Whatever Reynoso decides, he gave Coney Island residents a chance to have their say. Either way, it seems some of them will be unhappy with the result.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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