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Petition Nets 10,000 Signatures In Support Of Coney Island Casino Bid

Written By Derek Helling on August 28, 2023
people standing above nathan's famous hot dog stand on coney island

If the current results of a petition drive in Brooklyn are taken at face value, there is some public support for a bid to place a brick-and-mortar, commercial casino in the borough. Just how valuable the petition will be in terms of whether that casino becomes a reality is still unclear, though.

The petition aims to demonstrate that residents of Coney Island support the casino or at least the idea of a casino in their neighborhood. That support is crucial to whether the parties behind the bid will receive a license. Other matters carry equal weight, however.

The Coney casino project announces 10,000 supporting signatures

On Wednesday, a Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce press release details the language of the petition. Furthermore, the release focuses on the drive securing its 10,000th signature. The release states that “signers were overwhelmingly from Coney Island and South Brooklyn.”

While The Coney project is just one of several bids vying for three downstate New York casino licenses, it’s the only such bid featuring plans to build its casino in Brooklyn. The coalition of entities with an interest in the bid includes:

  • The Chickasaw Nation
  • Legends Entertainment
  • Saratoga Holdings
  • Thor Equities

Securing a substantial number of signatures for the petition in favor of the bid was crucial for its ability to compete with other bids. The signatures give The Coney’s proponents a chance to push back against other narratives.

Local support is not unanimous

There have been some public shows of opposition to the premise of a Coney Island casino. In May, Coney Island’s Community Board 13 voted 23-8 to adopt a resolution opposing a casino in the area. Members voiced that most of the people they represent oppose the construction of a casino as well.

Two months later, Borough President Antonio Reynoso shared that the results of two public forums he held on the topic were more negative than positive in terms of the casino. According to a post by Tim Balk of the New York Daily News, Reynoso said he received two negative comments for every positive one.

Among the concerns voiced were an increase in crime and traffic congestion. The Coney Island casino backers stress that petition signers support the project because of the jobs it promises to create.

None of the casino bids will likely ever substantiate that they have unanimous support in their locales. Regardless, they must show they have some level of community alliance to have a chance to secure a license.

Community opposition could thwart license bids

In the formula that New York officials will use to decide which license applications they select, local support is part of the equation. If the application can’t paint a picture of at least mixed emotions among locals, it likely will be among those who get left out.

At the same time, that’s just one part of the formula. The stakeholders’ experience, resources, and how quickly proposed casinos could open are other parts of the consideration. Furthermore, there’s the simple issue of money for the state.

While there is a floor of half a billion dollars for the cost of the licenses, there is no ceiling in the law. Thus, to some degree, the party willing to pony up the most cash for a license might have somewhat of an advantage.

The Coney Island bid has not shown a reluctance to spend to get its petition circulating. Many more expenses may still lie ahead, though.

Photo by AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

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