Poll Finds Locals Support A Casino At Citi Field In Queens, New York

Casino Games


  • The casino would be built on top of a parking lot at Citi Field
  • At least nine other entities are competing for the casino license
  • Cohen wanted to build a shopping mall on the parking lot in 2017 but could not because of existing legislation

A proposal to build a casino in the Citi Field parking lot in Queens, New York has a majority support from locals, according to a poll commissioned by the sponsoring group.

The poll was executed by Schoen Cooperman Research and showed that 78% of residents in the borough supported the erection of the highly sought-after casino near Willets Points. 65% indicated increased support after learning it would come with a “live music venue, casino gaming, and conference spaces.”

New York declared its intent to award three $500 million casino licenses in January. The New York Mets, who play in Citi Field, and owner Steve Cohen also have long-standing interest in developing the parking lot area.

600 Queens respondents were recorded as part of the poll. Demographic and specific neighborhood breakdowns were not included in the findings.

Two of the licenses that are up for grabs are expected to go to racinos (casinos at horse race tracks) in Yonkers, New York’s third-largest city that is located along the Hudson River, and southeast Queens. At least nine entities in place ranging from Times Square, Coney Island, and other areas have registered interest in competing for the final license.

The licenses cannot be awarded without two-thirds approval from a committee consisting of the mayor, the governor, the local Assembly member and state senator, the local City Council member and the borough president. That means that interested parties must not only flatter the state, but the people the casino would be going to immediately before.

Five plans for casinos in Manhattan have already been shot down by the community. Cohen’s Citi Field plan is not one of those and is therefore still alive.

Although the exact details of the build have not been released, it is expected to take up roughly 50 blocks in the overflow parking lot. The redevelopment would also create a path connecting Willets Points No. 7 station to the Flushing Marina. There’s also been rumored development of parks, bike paths, and more greenery.

But while the newest poll indicates support for such a build, a January poll conducted by Siena College found that only 38% of locals supported a casino build at Citi Field, the same percentage of people that held outright opposition.

Working towards the finish line

Cohen and his team are doing what they can to put themselves in the good graces of politicians ahead of a potential vote on their proposal. They made large donations to Mayor Eric Adams and NY Gov. Kathy Hochul but have otherwise kept their cards close to their chest.

Those connections could become pivotal later on as Cohen and company attempt to redevelop an area that has been notoriously tough to build on. There have been numerous attempts to get rid of scrap yards and build modern attractions, but they have failed due to political gridlock.

Adams wants the casino to be in the city, but a proposal for it to land near Nassau Coliseum in Long Island is considered the early frontrunner.

Another roadblock is standing legislation that would have to be overridden or amended to allow the building of the casino in the parking lot. The existing rules have to do with building over public parkland; the Citi Field lot area was designated as part of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in 1939.

Earlier this year, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said he was “encouraged to see [the] legislative process” but did not take a side on the issue.

Cohen is not afraid to wield his influence, or wallet, whenever he can. His Mets have the highest payroll in the MLB this season after being second and third in the two years prior. He also came close to building a shopping mall over the targeted casino site in 2017 but was overruled by the law regarding the development of parkland.

New York notably increased its gambling presence with the addition of legal sports betting last year. It has since become the nation’s leader in sports betting.

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.