Plan to Build Casino on New York Mets’ Parking Lot Helped by New Bill

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
USA Legal Betting Casino


  • The bill deals with building on New York parkland
  • Three casino licenses are up for grabs, and two are expected to go to existing entities
  • The Mets’ previous owners made an unsuccessful attempt to build on the lot in 2017

A bill that would allow the build of a casino on the New York Mets’ parking lot was introduced to state officials Wednesday. 

There has long been discussion of making use of the overflow parking areas surrounding Citi Field near Willets Point, a neighborhood in Queens, New York. Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry (D-Queens), whose jurisdiction includes the Mets’ home ground, wants at least 20 acres to be used for a brand-new casino. 

New York recently put three casino licenses up for grabs. Two are expected to go to existing racinos, leaving as many as nine suitors fighting for the final license.

Positive support

The bill specifically calls for “a gaming facility and, in conjunction with such facility, commercial, retail, entertainment, recreational, hotel, convention, and or community facility uses.”

But before Cohen’s extra parking space can be turned into a new gambling and entertainment center, there must be a change to state laws.

The lot and surrounding areas are technically considered as New York parkland as part of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which means that the state either needs to replace the 20 acres with new park space or significantly redevelop existing areas. If the latter is chosen, New Green Willets, LLC, a group formed by Cohen in 2022 to lead the charge for the new casino, would also pay for the revamp of the park.

Cohen and his team have already held several community events to discuss how locals would feel about a new casino and how they could build one without ruining the game-day experience. 

“Cohen and his team are committed to delivering a vision with dedicated green space, year-round entertainment and good-paying local jobs,” said spokeswoman Maria Comella. “We are supportive of efforts to create a process that does this the right way and makes it possible to expand use of the area beyond just parking lots.”

Donovan Richards, the Queens borough president, and Aubry have already held several meetings with Cohen to hear his plans for the casino build and are on board with his vision.

Other policymakers, however, are not yet voicing support. Local senator, Jessica Ramos, was noncommittal when addressing the idea. 

“I have yet to review the legislation in full,” Ramos said in a statement. “Clearly, I need to have conversations with my colleagues to ensure that whatever is introduced reflects our shared goals of prioritizing community input.”

Competition for the license

A casino in the Mets’ parking lot would not add a new attraction for locals, but it would also open up the entire area. The Willets Points subway station would be connected to the Flushing Bay marina via a park and path.

Resorts World New York City, the only casino in the Big Apple, is also just 10 miles away from Citi Field. If Cohen was to acquire a casino license and join Resorts World as a local operator, it would cost him $500 million.

Cohen and his wife have already spent over half a million dollars lobbying to get the state to add another casino and have made over $2 million in political donations related to gambling.

That being said, there is no guarantee that the Mets’ owner will get the license if the bill is approved and he becomes able to build on the parkland. Several other heavy hitters are already in on the chance to receive a casino license, and locations in Long Island, Coney Island, and Times Square are being considered.

Queens Development Group, a consortium featuring the Mets’ former owners, also led a failed attempt to build a mall on the parking lot in 2017.

New York’s gambling scene has been evolving quickly. Last year, it launched its legal sports betting market and saw tremendous success immediately. Recently, lawmakers changed the verbiage and methods that sportsbooks can use to market their services, specifically to children. 

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul also revealed that she plans to use tax revenue from casinos to help solve major issues, such as the local transportation crisis.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.