Considering a casino for Coney Island
Could slot machines join the arcade games and beach umbrellas at Coney Island?
Some local politicians hope so.
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is reportedly open to the idea of a casino in Coney Island.
The other spot pitched was Willets Point, Queens, on the site of the former Shea Stadium, the Daily News reported yesterday.
Silver wants a casino in a neighborhood that is already, or could become, a “destination resort area,” according to the newspaper.
Another option could be Aqueduct Racetrack, also in Queens.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has also given a thumbs-up to the idea of a Coney casino, which he thinks could bring more people to the beach.
People flocking to a casino in Coney Island could make a day of it, he suggested – a Cyclones game at night after a stop by the boardwalk or New York Aquarium.
State politicians have started the process of legalizing casino gambling and authorizing casinos in New York State.
Dick Zigun, who founded the the Coney Island Circus Sideshow and Coney Island U.S.A., said he is “100 percent in favor” of casinos.
“One casino hotel will only help Coney Island regain its fame and tourist appeal,” he said. “We have kiddie rides for families and freak shows for hipsters. … [We need a] casino hotel for adults.”
But not all Brooklynites are behind the plan.
Todd Dobrin, president of the Friends of the Boardwalk advocacy group, said nearly all locals he has talked with say no to the slots.
“They’re concerned about all the negative effects of having the casino in their direct backyard,” he said. “They’re concerned with gambling addiction, any crime that comes with it, the negative effects of having gambling.”
He added, “I don’t know if Coney Island is the right spot to gamble.”