New York Mets’ Owner’s Casino Bid Stalled by Dissenting Senator


  • Sen. Ramos accused Cohen of trying to buy her support
  • Cohen commissioned a poll that said 75 percent of Queens locals want a casino
  • Cohen recently secured the support of another important New York official

The ongoing feud for one of three New York casino licenses won’t be settled any time soon, and New York Mets owner Steve Cohen is finding that out the hard way. 

While New York already excluded casino revenue from its budget until 2026, Cohen is feuding with Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-WF), who stands in the way of his proposed casino build. Ramos accused Cohen of attempting to buy her approval ahead of a self-imposed mid-May deadline she set to settle a matter regarding the use of public land.

Ramos also shared a poll on Monday that revealed 75 percent of her district does not want a casino in the area, another setback for Cohen.

Not quite eye-to-eye 

New York has strict rules detailing how public land may be used. Cohen’s proposal requires the state to open up land that is currently locked by the state’s land-use agreement, which is why he needs Ramos to support a state bill that would grant him access to parkland that currently serves as the Mets’ stadium parking lot.

“It’s hard to just allow a billionaire to prance into my district and decide what goes on our public land,” Ramos said in an interview with POLITICO.

Ramos also highlighted the poll, first reported by THE CITY, as further reason for her hesitance. She claimed that the poll was funded by an “anonymous donor of [hers]” and executed by Slingshot Strategies. 

Cohen also conducted a poll 10 days after the anonymous one to gauge the public’s interest in a Queens casino. His results suggested that 75 percent of locals actually wanted a nearby casino, contrary to the other poll’s findings.

On top of asking how respondents felt about a gambling facility, Cohen also asked for feedback on how voters would view Ramos if she stood in the way of the proposal. Ramos claimed she was unaware of the poll but said it was another example of “the things that they do wrong.” 

“This is such a consequential decision. … It’s about generations and generations of neighbors to come,” Ramos said. “And I want to be able to have all the information that I can… [Cohen hasn’t] wanted to be my partner in that.”

Cohen needs support 

New York officials indicated they won’t decide the fate of the New York casino licenses until late-2025, which means Cohen still has plenty of time in theory to win the support of Ramos. A spokesperson for the billionaire’s team also pushed back on the idea they are simply trying to buy the Senator’s support. 

The spokesperson said Cohen’s team hosted 15 community workshops and offered more than $1 billion as part of a community benefits package should New York greenlight their casino approval.

“For more than three years, we’ve been working closely with local leaders and the community to solicit input to create a shared vision for Metropolitan Park,” the spokesperson said. “This project represents the feedback we’ve received over the course of hundreds of meetings and thousands of conversations and is why the more the people who live and work in Queens see and hear about Metropolitan Park, the more supportive they are.”

Cohen recently won the support of New York City Council member Francisco Moya, another important figure in the pursuit of the license. Although there’s no guarantee his proposal would even be selected by state regulators, a failure to secure Ramos’ support would eliminate all realistic hope. 

State officials are already unhappy with how long the casino license process has taken and could take, with one Senator proposing the legalization of New York online casinos to hold the tide.

In the meantime, New York sports betting is benefitting tremendously from March Madness. Mondy’s Elite Eight matchup between the Iowa Hawkeyes and LSU Tigers was the most-bet women’s sports event ever at BetMGM and FanDuel sportsbook, while online sportsbooks reported $539.6 million in total bets during the first week of the NCAA Tournament.