New York’s Coney Island Casino Plans Voted Down by Community Board  

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A group of community members in Coney Island, New York has affirmed by a 23-8 vote that they are against the plans for a $3 billion casino complex in the area.

The vote by Community Board 13 holds no legal weight. But the board has many local politicians who will have a legal say on the project at some point.

Local real estate titan Thor Equities is heading a consortium that wants to build a five-acre casino resort called The Coney on the famous shorefront boardwalk.

However, the vote by Community Board 13 this week does not look good for the project.

The Coney Island plan is just one of many casino sites being debated across the state as the race for one of three soon-to-be-created New York casino gaming licenses is heating up.

Locals in many areas have been voicing their opposition to the various proposals. So this is by no means the end of The Coney idea just yet.

Other casino projects around the state and New York City include Caesars’ Jay-Z-backed casino in Times Square, Las Vegas Sands’ proposed casino in a Nassau County stadium, and a Hard Rock site at Citi Field in Queens headed by New York Mets owner Steve Cohen.

Unfortunate Interruption

Community Board 13 Chairwoman Lucy Mujica Diaz expressed the board’s sentiment quite clearly in the case of the proposed Coney Island casino.

“We don’t want what Atlantic City has,” she said. “We’re already drowning in traffic half the year. Now you want to bring more traffic in. We don’t want it.”

However, some accused the vote of being worded unfavorably to the casino project. Most council votes across the US will see an idea proposed as a resolution, and then members vote yes or no on the project to proceed.

In this case, yes was to vote against the casino project, and a no vote was for going ahead with it.

“I do believe that the resolution was unfair to the project by wording it that way and steering the vote that way. I haven’t seen a resolution worded that way before,” casino project consultant and former Brooklyn councilman Robert Cornegy said.

Defending the project, Cornegy insisted many locals did, in fact, support a casino in the area. He provided more than 3000 local signatures he had collected from residents and business owners as evidence.

Shortly before the Community Board began to discuss the casino project in its online meeting, it was interrupted in a rather lewd manner. A masturbating hacker briefly took over the meeting’s video and audio, forcing admin staff to temporarily shut it down, as reported by the NY Post.

Consortium Views

For its part, Thor Equities continues to make the case for the positives of any casino resort.

“A gaming and entertainment venue on Coney Island is going to bring year-round jobs, create economic opportunities, improve public safety, help small businesses, and revitalize an iconic community looking to build a brighter future,” Thor’s statement read.

Thor Equities is backed by national casino operator Saratoga Casino Holdings, tribal gaming group The Chickasaw Nation, and the NY Yankees sports media firm Legends.

Few details of The Coney’s actual designs have yet been revealed. It is confirmed that it would feature a convention hall and a hotel tower, as well as the casino.

“Any judgements about this project – which is going to have enormous benefits – before the full details and community benefits agreement are finalized is premature, shortsighted and leaves the community struggling with the very same issues,” said the Consortium’s statement.  

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