Mets owner Steve Cohen has a bold vision for the future of the area around Citi Field. He hopes to construct a casino adjacent to the ballpark as a way to attract people to the neighborhood and create a vibrant entertainment district. Cohen, who bought the Mets before the 2021 season, announced on Monday that he will host a public “visioning session” at Citi Field on Jan. 7, 2023, to discuss ideas to “re-imagine space” around the stadium.
Cohen said he wants to hear from the local community and stakeholders about their preferences and concerns regarding the potential development of a casino and other amenities. He said he is committed to creating a “world-class destination” that will benefit the Mets, the fans, and the residents of Queens.
A Competitive Bid
Cohen’s plan to build a casino near Citi Field is not a done deal yet. He will have to compete with other bidders who are interested in obtaining one of the three licenses that New York state will issue for casinos in the New York City area. The state legislature approved the expansion of casino gambling in 2013, but the licenses will not be awarded until 2023 at the earliest.
Cohen will have to submit a formal proposal to the state gaming commission, which will evaluate the bids based on several criteria, such as economic impact, job creation, tax revenue, community support, and environmental sustainability. Cohen will also have to negotiate with the city, which owns the land around Citi Field, and secure the necessary approvals and permits.
A Potential Game-Changer
If Cohen succeeds in building a casino near Citi Field, it could be a game-changer for the Mets and the surrounding area. The casino would generate additional revenue for the team, which could help them invest more in players and facilities. The casino would also draw more visitors and tourists to the area, which could boost the local economy and create more jobs. The casino could also complement other attractions near Citi Field, such as the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the New York Hall of Science, and Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
However, not everyone is enthusiastic about Cohen’s plan. Some critics have raised concerns about the potential negative impacts of a casino on the neighborhood, such as increased traffic, noise, crime, and gambling addiction. Some also question whether a casino is compatible with the family-friendly atmosphere of a baseball stadium. Cohen said he is aware of these issues and will address them in his proposal and in his dialogue with the community.