New Poll Shows Scant Support for Steve Cohen’s Citi Field Casino Dreams

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Edward Scimia

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Edward Scimia

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Last Updated on 2nd April 2024, 12:24 PM

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New Poll Shows Scant Support for Steve Cohen’s Citi Field Casino Dreams

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen still sees a future with a casino attached to Citi Field in Queens, even though a new poll suggests his vision lacks public support. (Image: Gregory Fisher / Associated Press / Alamy)

A local politician opposed to the building of a casino at Citi Field is pointing to a new poll that shows residents aren’t enamored with billionaire New York Mets owner Steve Cohen’s Metropolitan Park project.

The poll, conducted by Slingshot Strategies, found that 61% of residents do not want a casino anywhere in the borough of Queens, while 75% are opposed to having one in their neighborhood.

Ramos Key to Metropolitan Park Casino Hopes

The survey questioned 432 registered voters in the district represented by State Senator Jessica Ramos (D-Queens), including neighborhoods such as Jackson Heights, Corona, Woodside and Astoria. 

The survey, which cost $27,500 to conduct, was paid for by an unnamed donor that Ramos declined to identify.

Ramos is critical to the hopes of any casino being built next to Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets. The proposal has strengths, in that it is backed by Cohen, the billionaire owner of the Mets. However, it has an additional issue in that it must overcome the parkland alienation rule. 

Citi Field and its parking lot are built on Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and are still considered parkland.

Citi Field in New York Opening Day 2024

Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, could also become site of a New York casino. But there’s a long season ahead before that could happen. (Image: John Angelillo / UPI / Alamy)

State Assemblyman Jeff Aubry (D-Corona) began attempts to overcome this hurdle by introducing an alienation bill for the casino facility last March. That said, the New York state legislature has traditionally only alienated parkland if both the local Senate and Assembly members were unanimously in favor.

In this case, Ramos has shown no support for the project. The polling only seems to have reaffirmed the views of Ramos and other casino opponents.

“Senator Ramos’ poll confirms what we’ve known all along: most people do not want a casino in their neighborhood because of its exploitative and harmful effects on the community,” Nabil Ahmed Khatri of the Muslim Center of New York said via a statement.

Metropolitan Park Claims Broad Support for Development

The results of Ramos’ poll are in stark contrast to the results Cohen and his team have shared with the public.

According to a spokesperson for Metropolitan Park, the project’s own outreach has found 89 percent of people to be supportive of the casino. 

In addition, the spokesperson pointed to a poll that found that 78 percent supported the casino after they learned about additional amenities such as a music venue, hotels, a 25-acre park, and $480 million to improve local subway and train stations.

But Ramos says she is skeptical of this research. According to her, she hasn’t found much grassroots support for the project, and pointed out that the Metropolitan Park backers have tended to downplay a key aspect of the development.

“I was always dubious about how they buried the word ‘casino’ in their scripts, in their written propaganda,” Ramos said via The City. “I really was desperate to be transparent and hear from my neighbors directly.”

Metropolitan Park is one of nine proposals in New York City, hoping to land one of three available downstate casino licenses. 

Delays in the process, including a change in land use rules in the city, have led the New York State Gaming Commission to announce that those licenses won’t be awarded until at least late 2025.

Meet The Author

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Edward Scimia
Edward Scimia
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Ed Scimia is a freelance writer who has been covering the gaming industry since 2008. He graduated from Syracuse University in 2003 with degrees in Magazine Journalism and Political Science. In his time as a freelancer, Ed has worked for About.com, Gambling.com, and Covers.com, among other sites. He has also authored multiple books and enjoys curling competitively, which has led to him creating curling-related content for his YouTube channel "Chess on Ice."

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