Southern Brooklyn

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Eyes Coney Island For Casino Destination

Source: Jamie Adams via Wikimedia Commons

Borough President Marty Markowitz wants a casino to be built in Coney Island. Now, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver may also be eyeing the People’s Playground for a new casino.

Silver hopes for a location that is a “destination resort area,” according to the New York Daily News. He is also considering Willets Point near Citi Field. Both are preferable, he said, to the Aquaduct.

“[A casino] would bring jobs and revenue to potential locations in New York City, especially Coney Island, which is a natural,” Markowitz said earlier this year.

Though a constitutional amendment to legalize casino gambling and authorize up to seven casinos in New York State has been passed, Governer Cuomo is not expected to decide on locations until next year.

Other officials including Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, have spoken out with some concerns about  bringing gambling to the area.

“While we might be looking at an economic engine that could generate over a billion dollars annually for the state, thousands of new jobs and increased recreational venues for New Yorkers, we are also looking at a substantial increase in problem gambling,” Cymbrowitz said.

Cymbrowitz states that if a casino comes to the area, funding must also go to expansion of treatment prograor gambling addicts.

There is no guarantee just yet as other locations may present a viable alternative, and local leaders would have to agree on the location of the new casino.

In a December 2011 poll, Sheepshead Bites readers indicated strong support for expanding access to casinos in New York State. Just over 38 percent of poll respondents gave an unconditional “Yes” to the question of legalizing gambling, while another 34 percent said yes, but with strict oversight and increased funding for gambling addiction programs. Almost 21 percent said no to legalization or to adding more exceptions, while six percent said no to legalization, but that current allowances should be increased.