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Mets Owner Bets A Casino Next To Citi Field Will Be Big Winner

Citi Field during a New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals game in August 2019

Steve Cohen is swinging for the fences in a bid to develop the land around the ballpark occupied by his new team. 

The billionaire hedge funder and owner of the New York Mets has been in talks with Las Vegas Sands Corp. about putting a casino near Citi Field in Willets Point, Queens, WFAN Sports Radio reported

The neighborhood, which was once largely industrial, is undergoing redevelopment. In 2011, two years after Citi Field was developed to replace Shea Stadium, the city funneled $50M into the neighborhood for infrastructure improvements, which were finished in 2014, according to the New York City Economic Development Corp

This year, Queens Development Group broke ground on a project that would add 1,100 affordable units to the area, 300 parking spaces and a public school for 650 students, per NYCEDC. 

As New York state’s Dec. 10 deadline for downstate-area casino proposals nears, Cohen is not the only one looking to win big on the casino front.

With three licenses in New York’s downstate region up for grabs and billions in potential revenue at stake, players are lining up to bid. Landlords like L&L Holding Co. and Vornado previously expressed interest in submitting bids for properties near Times Square and Penn Station, while the Seminole Tribe of Florida's Hard Rock resort company is also preparing a bid, Bloomberg reports. Hard Rock is looking to also build a casino less than 10 miles away from the city in East Rutherford, New Jersey, according to Bloomberg. 

Las Vegas Sands Corp. — the gaming empire once run by the late casino magnate Sheldon Adelson — sold the vast majority of its U.S. portfolio last March for $6.25B, keeping its holdings in Singapore and Macau. but has not lost its appetite for American gambling.

Shortly after selling its Las Vegas properties last year, it lobbied the Texas legislature to pass bills legalizing gambling and funneled millions into a public relations campaign in the state. 

But despite its eye on growth, Sands is still dealing with pain associated with pandemic shutdowns last year — Southeast Asia has experienced a recent surge in cases and Singapore has restricted international travel— even as other casino companies have been recovering, The Motley Fool reported last week