It’s an Amazin’ gamble! The Mets’ owners want to roll the dice on building a Las Vegas-style casino next to Citi Field to recoup some of the $162 million for which team brass are still on the hook following the Bernie Madoff Ponzi-scheme debacle, plans obtained by The Post reveal. While team owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz are still having trouble opening their tight pockets for high-priced free agents, that didn’t stop their development arm, Sterling Equities, from betting on a proposal that called for bringing a massive casino with gaming tables and slots, a 500-room, full-service hotel, 1.8 million square feet of retail and other amenities to the Willets Point development site in Queens. The Southampton-based Shinnecock Indian Nation signed on to operate the casino, and the Wilpons and partners even offered the city $100 million for the 62-acre site, according to the development team’s proposal, which was first obtained by project opponents Willets Point United and NYC Park Advocates. “This will be a place about fun — for families, sports fans and thrill seekers alike,” the proposal says. “[It] 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.” Even as he planned to let it all ride on the glitzy casino, Wilpon’s team has lowered payroll to about $93 million this season, down from $143 million in 2011, when the team lost $70 million. With live-dealer casino gambling currently illegal in New York, except on tribal lands, the Wilpons and partner Related Companies were awarded a consolation prize. In June, the Bloomberg administration handed them 23 of the 62 acres of city-owned land they sought in the September 2011 casino proposal — most of which is now used for parking — to build a $3 billion retail and entertainment complex without a casino. The revelation that the Mets owners’ want a casino comes as the state Legislature is considering a constitutional amendment to allow Las Vegas-style table gaming.
Mets eye casino at Citi to offset losses in Madoff scandal
New York Post | Feb 5