Coney Island Casino Report Shows Local Opposition to Project

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A new public engagement report published this week reveals that the majority of residents in Coney Island, New York, are not in favor of a proposed $3 billion casino and resort project.

The casino plans, for a venue to be known as “The Coney,” were unveiled in March by main developer Thor Equities.

The proposal says it will deploy 4,000 jobs in constructing the casino and resort, and create a similar number of permanent jobs. Some will be offered $30 an hour rates for entry-level positions.

However, this week’s report, compiled by the office of Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso (D), indicates that for each local who responded in favor of the project, there were three opposing it.

The Coney is one of a dozen or so casino resort projects currently competing for what’s likely just one of three upcoming New York State casino licenses.

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Community Feedback Guides Future Development

The Public Engagement Report: Coney Island Casino Proposal document collected anonymous feedback from more than 200 local respondents.

Their responses most commonly opposed the casino, for reasons including potential crime, displacement, gambling addiction, and traffic. Others didn’t oppose a casino specifically, but pointed out areas of the New York City neighborhood that needed investment and redevelopment.

Reynoso, who has yet to take a definitive stance on the project, believes that the newly collected and analyzed feedback should serve as a roadmap for the developers.

“Now the casino operators know in more detail about how most of Coney Island is feeling,” he said, as reported by New York Daily News.

“This report clearly outlines the issues in Coney Island. They should be using it to make their proposal stronger.”

The consortium behind the project includes Thor Equities, Saratoga Casino Holdings, the Chickasaw Nation, and the Legends entertainment company.

Despite the local opposition, the developers continue to advocate for the project, emphasizing the potential economic benefits, including those thousands of local jobs and the general redevelopment of the area.

Numerous Casino Bids

The Coney is one of approximately ten bids for new, full-scale casinos in New York City.

The state has launched a competition for three $500 million downstate casino licenses, with two expected to go to existing racinos in Yonkers and southeast Queens. This leaves around a dozen developers vying for the final license

That group includes big names from the casino business and investment world, such as Caesars Entertainment and rap superstar Jay Z’s Time Square project, New York Mets owner Steve Cohen’s Citi Field proposal, and NYC real-estate mogul Larry Silverstein’s luxury Manhattan casino idea.

If The Coney is to be built, it not only needs to get that license ahead of the competition, but it also still needs to win the approval of a newly formed six-member Community Advisory Committee (CAC).

The developers, however, remain optimistic.

“We’re bringing a rich entertainment experience and a deep commitment to community to the shores of Coney Island in Brooklyn. It will be a new kind of casino and entertainment district: one destined to be New York’s new beacon of economic opportunity,” says the project’s flashy new website, RevitalizeConey.com.

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