New York Mets owner Steve Cohen reportedly lobbied hard for a small casino license for Citi Field (pictured). [Image: Shutterstock.com]
The owner of the New York Mets is said to have set his sights on licensing the Citi Field Casino. Up to three casino business licenses across the country are up for grabs, with Steve Cohen’s close associates in discussions with Queens officials and Mayor Eric Adams on the matter, according to local media reports.
It appears Cohen has been busy making plans for a potential casino near the Mets stadium. Supposedly, he is evaluating several potential casino operator partners with the help of investment bank Union Gaming.
Hard Rock is the favourite
according to New York Post, Hard Rock is the favourite, as the operator is already a big donor to New York Governor Kathy Hochhol. The Las Vegas Sands are also in the mix, after I spoke with Cohen about a casino project shortly after he bought the Mets in 2020.
In discussion with state officials
Point72 Asset Management Chief of Foreign Affairs and Chief of Staff Michael Sullivan is leading the lobbying effort for Cohen, As I mentioned before NYP.
The New York State Gaming Commission website lists him as a key lobbyist for New Green Willets, LLC of the same address as Cohen’s Point72 hedge fund.
Last week, sources reportedly spotted Sullivan having an intense conversation with Mayor Adams during a political reception at a private nightclub. According to city records, New Green Willets has so far spent nearly $99,000 this year lobbying city and city council officials.
Competitive Bidding Process
Cohen is certainly not alone in his desire to obtain a New York casino license. MGM-owned Empire City in Yonkers and Resort World property owned by Genting in Queens will likely seek a full casino license when the application process begins. Other potential locations for a new casino include Times Square and Hudson Yards in Manhattan with many real estate developers interested.
It is estimated that the state government will earn $500 million for each of the three potential casino business licenses. Officials have not made a decision on the tax rates for these casinos.
According to the current plan, the New York State Gaming Commission will appoint officials to the Casino Project Inspection Board by October 4. This 90 day period will follow the process in which the Board will evaluate the casino license bids.
A six-person community advisory board made up of people from the proposed casino site would need to give two-thirds approval for the project. Unless the casino project plans to use state-owned property, the plan will also need approval from the city council.