New York City developers and gaming operators are putting their chips on the table in a frenzied bid for the right to open local casinos, including in Times Square and Hudson Yards, The Post has learned.
Some of the other locations being looked at are Willets Point near the Mets’ Citi Field ballpark in Queens and Brooklyn’s Coney Island, according to sources familiar with the plans.
The state gaming commission is authorized to issue up to three licenses in the Big Apple downstate region, and Mayor Eric Adams has said he wants at least two of the licenses given to the city.
Real estate giants related companies in Hudson Yards and Vornado and SL Green in Times Square are interested in partnering with casino behemoths such as Hard Rock, Sands and Wynn for local venues, industry and public sources said.
Representatives of the developers and casinos have informed Adams̵[ads1]7; office, as well as Gov. Kathy Hochul and state officials, of their preliminary plans, sources said.
Officials from related companies have met at City Hall to discuss a proposal to build a casino over railroad tracks on the far west side.
Related Companies Chairman Stephen Ross is a solid donor to Hochul, the biggest player in the casino competition that oversees state gambling regulators.
A representative of Related Companies, the largest developer of the West Side’s Hudson Yards, confirmed its interest in building a casino in Manhattan.
“We are exploring our options,” Related spokesman Jon Weinstein told The Post on Sunday.
Sources familiar with the discussions said Hudson Yards has plenty of space to build a casino, along with the transportation infrastructure needed to get people to and from a gaming facility. Stations #7 and Penn Station are nearby. The area is also close to the Javits conference centre.
Mets owner Steve Cohen and his associates — who have good relations with Adams — have talked to City Hall about potentially building a local casino as well, sources said.
Thor Equities has discussed building a casino in Coney Island as well, an insider said.
Business mogul John Catsimatidis, who developed the oceanfront housing along Coney Island, has also expressed support for opening a casino there.
“A casino would be a wonderful thing for Coney Island and Brooklyn,” Catsimatidis said Sunday. “A Coney Island casino would bring a lot of energy to Brooklyn.”
On the casino side, Hard Rock has indicated that it has already joined the party.
It just donated $119,000 to the Gov. Hochul-controlled state Democratic Party and has contributed more than six figures to the governor’s campaign, according to fundraising documents filed with the state Board of Elections.
Hard Rock’s lobbyists have also met with City Hall Chief of Staff Frank Carone about wanting to build a casino, lobbying records show. Hard Rock executives have discussed a partnership with the Mets’ Cohen for a Willets’ Point casino.
A selling point: Willet’s Point is easily accessible using the No. 7 subway, the Long Island Rail Road and the Grand Central Parkway and the Long Island Expressway, and has a large population just minutes away in Flushing, a potential gambling circuit, sources said.
Meanwhile, Sands CEO Rob Goldstein has also met with Carone about a Big Apple casino, a source close to the discussions said.
As for supporting any local project, Carone noted to The Post, “Casinos provide good-paying union jobs.”
Two existing slot machines at state racetracks — Resorts World/Genting at Aqueduct in Queens and Empire City/MGM at Yonkers in Westchester County — have been in operation for more than a decade and will apply for a full license to expand and offer live table games. If these two sides are chosen, it will be a battle for the remaining license for a new downstate casino.
But opening a casino anywhere in the city — especially in Manhattan — won’t be easy.
Under state law, gambling interests will have to solicit support from the community.
Proponents must obtain the approval of two-thirds of a six-member advisory council for the area where a casino is proposed. The representatives shall include appointees of the borough president, the local state senator and assembly member and city council member, as well as the governor and mayor.
Unless the proposed casino is on state-owned property, it also must be approved under the city’s long-standing land-use procedure, which needs the City Council’s blessing.
The situation gives community activists and local elected officials enormous influence in the selection process.
Other controversial projects on Manhattan’s West Side have landed in the graveyard — notably former mayor Mike Bloomberg’s proposed Olympic stadium and the Westway expressway.
“I strongly oppose a Manhattan casino in concept,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman, who represents the Hudson Yards and Times Square neighborhoods, told The Post on Sunday.
“I don’t know a single representative who wants a casino,” he said. “Powers from outside want a casino. Insiders who live here don’t want a casino.”
Studies have questioned the financial benefits of land-based casinos even in the digital age. The region is saturated with gambling halls, say critics.
But New York government stands to benefit from billions of dollars in revenue.
The state is expected to collect at least $500 million for each casino license — or at least $1.5 billion.
The tax rates will ultimately be determined by the competitive bidding process for the licenses, but the law says they cannot be less than 25% of slot machine revenue and 10% of table game revenue.
The tax rates will probably be higher. The four upstate casinos all pay between 30% and 40%.
The Gaming Commission will appoint members to a casino board by October 4. The board will then have 90 days to issue a request for bids.