The New York Mets have always been known as the New York Yankees‘ geeky little brother, a team that will forever be stuck in the immense shadow of their inter city rival. Short of winning 28 World Series titles and eclipsing the Yankees – they’re 26 away from that number! – there aren’t a whole lot of things that the Mets can do to supplant their big brothers as the bigger baseball show in the Big Apple.
But if Mets’ owners are really serious about building a Las Vegas-style casino next to Citi Field, as what the New York Post is reporting, then maybe you’ll see some New Yorkers trade in their pin stripes for the ol’ blue and orange. To be fair, switching allegiances from the Yankees to the Mets will probably never happen, but if the Mets are looking to draw in more fans and, as the Post puts it, recoup the millions the team is still on the hook following the Bernie Madoff Ponzi-scheme fiasco, then yeah, a lavish hotel and casino is definitely the way to go.
Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz are apparently looking into the possibility of building a hotel and casino complex just beside Citi Field that will include a 500-room, full-service hotel, a large casino with slots and live dealers, and 1.8 million square feet of retail and other amenities. Not exactly a subtle establishment these people are trying to build, huh?
Proving that they’re really serious about this plan, Mets ownership have signed a deal with the Southampton-based Shinnecock Indian Nation that would allow the latter to operate the casino,. On top of that, the ownership group also apparently offered the city $100 million for the 62-acre site and the Wilpons and partners even offered the city $100 million for the 62-acre Willets Point development site in Queens with the intent of using the space to build a place that, according to the proposal, will “attract millions of visitors from the New York area and around the world and will serve as New York’s newest and most unique entertainment destination”.
The Mets ownership group’s plans of building a casino comes around the same time that New York governor Andrew M. Cuomo and state legislatures are in discussions of amending a state law that would open the door for Las Vegas-style live dealer gambling in New York. While there have been some incremental progress made on those discussions, any kind of resolution will likely take some time. Besides, Queens isn’t exactly one of the locations the governor had in mind for future casinos should the amendment pass. Only three will be allowed in the foreseeable future, according to the Cuomo, with all three being located “upstate”.
And then there’s that matter about baseball’s longstanding abhorrence towards anything related to gambling. Having a posh hotel and casino just beside Citi Field probably won’t sit too well in the eyes of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. Sure, sports betting won’t be offered in the proposed establishment, but anything that spells g-a-m-b-l-i-n-g and located beside a baseball stadium is bound to raise the ire of the game’s beloved – sarcasm inserted – bastion of integrity.
It’ll be interesting to see how the cards fall from here on out. A series of events will need to happen before we can see this casino built right next to Citi Field. Plus, the likelihood of Selig letting Mets ownership invest in a large-scale project involving gambling is next to nothing.
Stranger things have happened, but as long as Selig sits on the MLB throne, we don’t like the chances of this project getting green-lighted anytime soon.