Bally’s Bronx casino bid facing same obstacle as Steve Cohen’s in Queens

Local lawmakers refuse to move to alienate parkland

Bally’s Bronx Casino Facing Same Obstacle as Steve Cohen

From left: Bally’s CEO Robeson Reeves and Assemblyperson Michael Benedetto along with the former Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx (Getty, Bally’s)

Another bidder for a downstate gaming license is learning how difficult it is to secure essential parkland alienation for its proposal.

No key lawmakers in the Bronx have supported parkland alienation for the Bally’s casino proposal in Ferry Point Park in Throggs Neck, The City reported. Bally’s will likely need state approval to use some park land for commercial purposes, but is running out of time to do so as the legislative session winds down.

Bronx Assemblyperson Michael Benedetto — who is facing a primary this month — hasn’t taken action on parkland alienation, saying he was “not advocating for any alienation bill.” 

The office of State Sen. Nathalia Fernandez declined to comment, as the state senator is supposedly keeping her eyes on more pressing matters ahead of the June 6 cutoff for bill introductions in the State Legislature.

The refusal to allow parkland alienation likely imperils the Bally’s proposal for the former Trump Links golf course in the Bronx. The gaming operator aims to build a 3.1-million-square-foot complex with a gaming hall, food and beverage service, a hotel with a spa, retail spots, an event center and a humongous parking garage.

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A public hearing connected to the environmental review of the proposed project is set for next month.

If the parkland alienation problem sounds familiar, it’s because New York Mets owner Steve Cohen is dealing with the same situation for his casino proposal by Citi Field in Queens. 

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Last week, State Sen. Jessica Ramos introduced a bill that would allow many uses for the parking lot next to the ballpark, but not a casino. Because the parking lot is technically parkland, Cohen’s bid for a casino in Flushing is in deep trouble.

There are nearly a dozen bidders vying for three downstate gaming licenses, which the state is expected to award late next year. Two of those licenses are likely headed to “racinos” in Queens and Yorkers, creating a fierce competition for the last license.

Holden Walter-Warner