Yankees and Mets owners compete for a coveted NYC casino license
Owners of the Yankees and Mets are competing in a new kind of subway series.
But this one isn’t over bragging rights — the winner could wind up with one of the city’s coveted casino licenses.
Legends, a firm partly owned and co-founded by the Yankees, is part of a consortium proposing a casino in Brooklyn’s famous Coney Island, along with developer Thor Equities, Saratoga Casino Holdings and The Chickasaw Nation.
The Yankees own about 25% of Legends, a source said. Another quarter is owned by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Legends’ other ventures includes running 1 World Trade Observatory, the Circle Line, the Intrepid Museum and Major League Baseball stores.
The Bronx Bombers’ entertainment group’s interest in southern Brooklyn’s Coney Island could raise some eyebrows.
Coney Island is the home of cross-town rival Mets’ minor league team the Brooklyn Cyclones, and the borough was home of the fabled Brooklyn Dodgers before the team moved to Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, Mets owner Steve Cohen is not standing idly by.
He has for months been angling to secure one of the three downstate commercial casino licenses to be awarded next to Citi Field. He believes a plan to open a 25,000 seat soccer stadium in Willets Point helps his causes, sources previously told The Post.
Cohen has been in discussions with potential casino partners, including Hard Rock and Sands Hotel and Casino.
The Legends people are involved in the entertainment portion of the proposal, which is being put together. I believe there will be a proposal and it will be a winning proposal. I think Coney Island is the best location in the five boroughs of the City of New York for a casino,” said James Featherstonhaugh, a longtime Albany lobbyist and a principal at Saratoga Casino, which is part of the consortium.
The Yankees declined comment, referring questions to Legends Hospitality Group.
Legends president Bill Rhoda, in a statement released Tuesday, said, “Legends is proud to work with Thor Equities and our gaming partners Saratoga Casino and The Chickasaw Nation to provide our operational and experiential expertise to bring the preeminent resort casino in New York to Coney Island.”
“This incredible resort will be a world class entertainment destination, with gaming, a variety of restaurants and entertainment for locals and tourists year-round.”
Thor Equities founder and CEO Joe Sitt said a casino will help “to reclaim Coney Island’s legacy” and turn it into a “vibrant year-round destination for all to enjoy.”
Melissa Gliatta, chief operating officer for Thor Equities, said she relished the competition.
We’re never afraid of a fight. We’re scrappy. We believe in Coney Island,” said Gilatta, noting that Thor has long been “committed to Brooklyn.”
Yes, you can put something in Manhattan, but does it need something else? Coney Island needs this project. You really make a difference. You get the chance to tell that Coney Island story.”
Cohen, the Mets’ billionaire owner and hedge fund honcho, has donated funds to aid Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul and his lobbying team have cultivated ties with the Queen’s elected officials to advance his interests.
Meanwhile, billionaire mogul John Catsimitidis — who has developed rental apartments on Ocean Drive in Coney Island, said the area would be great for a casino, if the city and state get crime under control.
He said the Coney Island bid – and other bids for casinos – will be jeopardized if the Albany pols don’t fix the state bail laws.
You need to make sure Albany fixes the bail law and New York City is safer and make sure you take the violent repeat customers off the streets. I think it could be an impediment to our city overall,” Catsimatidis said.
“I think the laws have to guarantee New York City visitors and residents are safe.”