Third New York casino bid announced

The state plans to issue three licences for downstate casinos.
The state plans to issue three licences for downstate casinos.

Retail estate developer Thor Equities Group wants develop a $3bn casino and entertainment venue in Coney Island.

US.- Saratoga Casino Holdings, the Chickasaw Nation and Legends have joined Thor Equities‘ bid for a licence to develop a “comprehensive casino, hotel, and entertainment proposal” in Coney Island. Thor would develop the property, Saratoga and the Chickasaw Nation would run casino operations and Legends would be the development and entertainment partner.

The group says a casino would be a boon to the peninsula’s economy, which relies heavily on summer tourist traffic. They say the project would involve an investment of more than $3bn of private funds and would create 2,500 construction jobs and “thousands” of permanent jobs.

The partners said they were committed to MWBE hiring and working with local institutions to create a job training programme to hire directly among residents of Brooklyn and Queens. 

Saratoga Casino Holdings describes itself as having a “proven track record,” running what it claims to be the most successful racino in Upstate New York. It operates 175,000 square feet of casino gaming space with more than 2,100 slot machines, table games, a poker room and two sportsbooks, plus several entertainment venues, restaurants, nightclubs, and bars.

CEO Sam Gerrity said: “My family has done business in New York for generations, including opening the first non-tribal casino in 2004 which has contributed over $1.2bn to New York State education. We are thrilled to be partnering with Thor Equities Group, LLC and Global Gaming Solutions, LLC, two world class organizations, to bring a community-friendly gaming and entertainment venue to Coney Island.”

Global Gaming Solutions is a business entity belonging to the Chickasaw Nation. GGS and The Chickasaw Nation operate more than 25,000 Electronic Games, 2,000 hotel rooms, 30 restaurants and dozens of retail outlets. The business portfolio includes the largest casino in the world, WinStar World Casino and Resort. The Chickasaw Nation employs nearly 13,500 people. 

Global Gaming Board chairman Bill Lance said: “We currently enjoy an excellent strategic partnership with Legends at our flagship property WinStar World Casino and Resort. Our investment and involvement in this project reflects a desire to expand that relationship and extend it to additional strategic partners in Thor and Saratoga,

“We look forward to a successful collaboration based on our combined strengths and perhaps most importantly – our shared commitment to develop a top-tier entertainment venue that promises to respect the history of the neighborhood and breathe new life into this iconic New York City landmark. We look forward to taking our partnership with Legends – a known and trusted entity in New York – to even greater heights.”

Legends was originally founded as a joint venture with the New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys.

Bill Rhoda, president of Legends Global Planning, 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.”

Thor Equities Group was founded in 1986 by CEO and chairman Joe Sitt. It has headquarters in New York City, London and Mexico City and has built a global portfolio of assets across the industrial, office, retail, laboratory, mixed-use and hospitality sectors.

Sitt said: “New York will always be our home and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to reclaim Coney Island’s legacy and bring new economic possibilities to an iconic neighborhood. With our incredible partners, we are committed to creating lasting prosperity for a community and its residents and turn Coney Island into a vibrant year-round destination for all to enjoy. Together we have the track record across development, operations, gaming, entertainment, and job creation that is best suited to bring Coney Island security and vitality for the next century.”

Randy Peers, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, said, “This project will finally stimulate our local economy in a way that turns Coney Island into a year-round destination. Most importantly, it will create all-year full-time employment for our local residents who can grow their career and serve the community they grew up.”

New York plans to issue three downstate casino licences.

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