Report: Mets explore building casino near Citi Field
If the Mets had their way, they didn’t want to be the only ones at Citi Field losing money.
The New York Post reported Tuesday morning that Mets owner Fred Wilpon looked into building a casino near their home ballpark in 2011, even submitting a request to the city for 62 acres on which to build. The bid was not accepted, though they were granted 23 acres, currently on the site of stadium parking.
Sterling Equities, Wilpon and partner Saul Katz’s development company, partnered with the Shinnecock Indian tribe to submit a plan for the casino. However, casino gaming on non-tribal land is still illegal in New York state, so the group was instead granted just the 23 acres and allowance to build a $3 billion entertainment facility, sans gaming.
But they reportedly haven’t given up on the dream.
The state is currently debating an amendment to allow casino gaming in the state, and the Wilpons would likely still be interested. The Post quoted an MLB spokesman as saying the league would “need to get all the details” before making any decision about allowing the casino so close to Citi Field. Of course it’s unlikely the league would enjoy having a gambling establishment so close to — and owned in part by — an MLB franchise. Gambling connections are strictly forbidden by all sports leagues, maybe none more so than the league which banned all-time hits leader Pete Rose for gambling on the sport as a manager.
The Mets have struggled immensely with finances over the past few years, largely due to the Wilpons’ connection to the Ponzi scheme run by Bernie Madoff, who is currently serving 150 years in prison for bilking investors of over $17 billion. The Wilpons have slashed payroll four of the past five seasons. They settled with Madoff trustee Irving Picard for $162 million last March.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.