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Queens Councilman Francisco Moya has thrown his support behind Mets owner Steve Cohen’s plan to build an $8 billion casino complex next to Citi Field. Moya believes that the Metropolitan Park project, which includes a gaming center, hotel, and music venue, is in the best interest of Queens and New York City. However, state Sen. Jessica Ramos, another key political figure whose approval is necessary for the project to proceed, has not yet endorsed the plan as she has concerns about the conversion of park land for commercial use.

Moya is highly enthusiastic about the potential benefits of the casino project, emphasizing how it could drive economic growth and improve the fan experience in the area surrounding Citi Field. He is also a strong supporter of another related project, a new professional soccer stadium for the New York City Football Club. Moya is actively working to secure support from the state Legislature for the conversion of park land to facilitate sports, entertainment, and recreational activities in the area.

While Moya is optimistic about the prospects of the Metropolitan Park project, Senator Ramos, whose approval is crucial for the project’s success, has expressed reservations. Ramos has criticized the lobbying efforts of the Cohen team, questioning the transparency and community engagement of their approach. She has also aligned herself with a competing bid by Genting Resort World, which seeks to secure a full casino license and offer table games and a music venue in Queens.

State regulators recently announced that they will delay a decision on up to 3 new casino licenses in the New York City area until late 2025. Critics view this delay as detrimental to the local economy, but industry sources believe it provides Cohen with more time to strengthen his position in Albany. Cohen is reported to have good relationships with Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul, two key figures in the casino licensing process. Other proposed casino projects in New York City include those by The Related Companies/Wynn, SL Green/Caesars/Roc Nation, Thor Equities, Bally’s, and Sands.

Overall, the fate of the Metropolitan Park project hinges on securing support from key political figures like Senator Ramos. Moya’s endorsement of the casino complex and soccer stadium highlights the economic potential and community benefits of the project. However, a lack of consensus among political stakeholders, including concerns about park land conversion and lobbying tactics, pose challenges to the project’s advancement. The delay in awarding new casino licenses in the city provides Cohen with an extended timeline to gather support and navigate the complex political landscape surrounding the gaming industry in New York.

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