Bally’s New York City Casino Proposal At Trump Links Hits Rough Patch

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Bally’s bid to get a New York gambling license for a proposed casino on the site of the Trump Links golf course at Ferry Point in the Bronx is facing several major obstacles.

The Rhode-Island based national casino operator has reached a deal with the Trump Organization (the business controlled by the family of former President Donald Trump) to buy the 17 acres of golf course land.

However, the length of the lease and the zoning designation of some of the land could prove a stumbling block to any casino plans. The deadline for new casino proposals to be sent to regulators is in six weeks, so any lengthy bureaucratic delays could see things go down to the wire.

Half a dozen big name national operators are competing for just one of three expected casino licenses to be given out in New York state later this year.

Long-Term License

Although Bally’s has reached an agreement with the Trump Organization to lease the site, the New York City Parks department has to approve the license transfer.

Trump Links currently has a 14-year operational agreement for the golf course. Bally’s needs a full lease on the land for a minimum of 70 years. Looking at and approving that change in the deal for Bally’s could take up to 40 days – cutting it fine with the six week or 42-day deadline for the casino proposals submission.

Although former President Donald Trump’s Organization is a controversial one, public sentiment against the name probably isn’t behind the delay in this case.

In fact, some locals actually got behind the casino plan initially because Bally’s promised to drop the Trump brand from the site if its casino proposal is built.

Instead, bureaucratic procedure is holding things up. New York Parks Department sources say this type of lease transfer has never been done before, so arranging it requires extra time.

“Upon receipt of any assignment proposal, Parks follows our standard procedure to vet the proposal to determine whether it is in the City’s best interest and should be approved,” a Parks Department spokesperson told the NY Post.

Another potential pitfall for Bally’s is local zoning laws. Some of the land on the Trump Links site is designated as parkland, requiring state legislators to vote on its rezoning if a casino is to be built.

Rival Bids

As we reported earlier this week, a rival casino bid by New York Mets owner Steve Cohen is running into similar problems. The billionaire hedge fund manager is facing an uphill battle to rezone designated parkland where he wants to build his casino project, near the Mets Citi Field stadium in Queens.

Other planned casino projects across the state are approaching their final forms before the submission deadline.

The Nassau County Legislature this week voted approval on Las Vegas Sands Corp’s purchase of the lease for an 80-acre site in Long Island.  

Bally’s, meanwhile, reportedly has a Plan B if its Trump Links project fails to pass regulators. It is looking at a much smaller 8-acre site it owns near the Mets’ Citi Field ballpark.

How that plan would go down with Cohen and Queens local officials remains to be seen, especially if Cohen’s own casino plans also fail.  

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