Marty Markowitz Pushes Casinos For Coney Island

Casinos haven't yet come to New York, but New York went to casinos...

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is on the move to take advantage of Governor Cuomo’s plan to legalize table gambling in the state.

“His support for a constitutional amendment allowing casino gambling, would bring jobs and revenue to potential locations in New York City, especially Coney Island, which is a natural,” said Markowitz in a press release.

The proposed vision of a revamped economic frontier on Coney Island has some residents and local officials excited, but also well aware of what casinos may bring to the community.

In 2009, Mayor Bloomberg’s controversial rezoning of Coney Island, which slated large areas for condominiums and housing projects, has some residents clamoring for a plan of having a casino in those lots instead.

“It could be the savior for Coney Island as a major destination,” Dick Zigun, director of Coney Island USA, home of the sideshow attractions, told Brooklyn Paper. “I’d like to rezone the rezoning — to take that from condos and turn it into casinos.”

It is unclear how much Bloomberg’s administration supports the building of a casino in Coney Island, as some concerns remain over New York City’s revenue sharing with the proposed plan.

There are some residents and officials that have concerns over bringing a gambling hub to the neighborhood, including Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz.

“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 has demanded that any legalization of gambling also include an expansion of treatment programs for gambling addicts.

Cuomo’s plan must pass the state legislature and then pass the referedum process in order to legalize table gambling in the state. The plan wouldn’t come in front of voters until 2013 at the earliest.

Taylor Reynolds