Mets owners reportedly pined for Willets Point casino

Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz reportedly lobbied to bring a Las Vegas-style casino to the Willets Point area around Citi Field. From today’s New York Post:

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.

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.

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