Report: Mets owners made pitch for “massive” casino next to Citi Field

Baseball and blackjack?

The owners of the Mets were all in on a 2011 proposal for a casino next to Citi Field, only to be rejected by the Bloomberg administration, according to the New York Post.

Sterling Equities, the Mets’ parent company, wanted to bring "a massive casino with gaming tables and slots," a 500-room hotel and 1.8 million square feet of retail space to a 62-acre site at Willets Point in Queens, the Post reported.

Fred Wilpon & Co. offered $100 million for the acreage, and had the Shinnecock Indian Nation "signed on to operate the casino," the paper added.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature are considering a constitutional amendment to bring legalized casino gambling to New York. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has touted locations like Willets Point and Coney Island in Brooklyn.

City officials rejected the Mets’ casino plan "partly because they thought the government-approval process would take too long," according to the Post.

Another big question: Would Major League Baseball allow it? Though Sterling Equities would not "directly operate or build the casino," a gambling location linked to the Mets would "ultimately be (MLB) Commissioner Bud Selig’s call," the Post reported.

In June, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a multi-billion dollar makeover for Willets Point, a development plan which calls for a one million square-foot mall, hotel, market rate and affordable apartments and office space.

In other words, no casino.

"The submission that included a gaming use was quickly dismissed as unviable," a New York City Economic Development Corporation spokesman told the Post. "A different plan is now moving through the approvals process for a project that will create a dynamic new destination, hundreds of units of affordable housing, and thousands of jobs."

The casino proposal was reportedly made in Sept. 2011, while trustee Irving Picard was bringing a mega-bucks lawsuit against the Mets for the victims of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme. The sides settled for $162 million in 2012.


Source : cbsnews[dot]com

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