Cuomo: Looks Like Queens is Not Getting Another Casino After All

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Looks like the Governor is facing yet another monetary failure. Except, with this one, it looks like he's all in.

A few months ago, Cuomo announced that he wanted to a build a casino at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park (the price tag: $4 billion). The 3.8-million-square-foot gambling hub, right next door to Kennedy Airport, would be like if we dropped the Jacob K. Javits Center in Queens, replacing those trade shows with a ton of table games like blackjack, craps and Texas hold-em. 

It was Cuomo's centerpiece project; his biggest bet on job creation in New York, mentioned over and over again at his State of the State in January. But, during a radio interview yesterday, he admitted that the plan will cease to exist after failed negotiations with Genting, a Malaysian-based development company. In his words, "The conversations haven't really worked out."

Well so long to that idea.

And that's a shame: according to the Times, Genting's involvement would have translated into "10,000 construction jobs and 10,000 permanent jobs." That is why Cuomo successfully sought to legalize table gambling in New York in March, with help from an army of casino lobbyists behind him, including Genting. It was to be a pathway to what's naturally next: building a casino. 

As of now, the only project in the metropolitan area that has benefited from this work is the much smaller Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct Racetrack that opened last year. There's five Native-American-run casinos upstate if you're willing to take the trip. 

And, for many Manhattanites, making the voyage to Queens for this new casino was somehow already becoming a problem before we even decided not to build the damn thing. Critics were skeptic as to how many tourists would take the subway to Ozone Park to throw a couple bucks around. This might be the reason why Genting backed off from dumping millions into a possible transportation mishap.

(This follows a basic mantra of New York City traveler logic: basing destination decisions you make on how many subway stops away it is. "Oh, it's 5 stops on the L train? Psh, I'm not going to Brooklyn.")

But not all hope is lost for the mega-structure in the outer borough: Cuomo followed his fail remarks with forecasts of what could come next in the process. It may be back to the drawing board but the Governor mentioned that there are other gambling companies trying to cash in on New York's charm. Let's see if they have the Genting jitters, as well, though.

So the idea is still alive and will be sold to the highest bidder... eventually. Until then, enjoy the MegaMillions or any other entertainment that defines Big Apple luck.

[jsurico15@gmail.com/@JSuricz]
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