Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz Renews Push For Gambling In Coney Island


coney-islandIt could be time to roll the dice on Coney Island.

After the collapse of talks with gaming giant Genting to create a casino and convention center in Queens, Borough President Marty Markowitz is stepping up his bid to get a casino at the seaside amusement mecca.

“It would be a tremendous thing for the future of Coney Island, and it’s the right place to put it,” said Markowitz, adding he’s had preliminary conversations with Cuomo administration officials.

A constitutional amendment to legalize gambling in the state passed the legislature once, but still has to pass again and then be approved by the voters. Seven casinos would be authorized around the state, and their locations would be set after the amendment was finalized.

Gov. Cuomo had been in talks with Genting, which currently runs the racino at Aqueduct, to build a $4 billion complex with the nation’s largest convention center and a casino resort. The company wanted exclusive rights to run a casino in the city.

But Cuomo said Friday that those talks had broken down for now.

“I don’t want to start talking about or…making commitments about where a casino may be or may not be,” Cuomo said this week, adding consideration would not be limited to the sites of current racinos. “It should be an open competition.”

The Queens proposal had drawn skepticism from critics who thought the location was too far flung.

Backers say a Coney casino would be a better bet because there are already other attractions that make the area a destination.

“There’s a whole host of reasons to make it a hub as opposed to one stand alone casino that’s the only action in town, and that’s what Coney Island has over all these other locations,” said Markowitz,.

Coney Island “Mayor” Dick Zigun noted the ocean-front playground had a thriving gambling scene before betting was outlawed in the state a century ago.

“Coney Island is closer to Manhattan. It already has major transportation, four subway lines, we’re immediately off the Belt Parkway,” he said. “And we have other things to do with an amusement park and a beach.”

Some were skeptical. “It’s never gonna happen. There’s only two ways in here, Ocean Parkway and Cropsy Avenue, and they can’t handle the congestion of rush hour. How are they gonna handle 1200 buses?” said Gordon Gattsek, 54, of Coney Island.

Ranie Rujim, 44, owner of Coney Island Gift Shop, said while gambling would bring crowds, “they’re probably going to spend all their money in the casinos and no money here,”

But most said they’d be eager to see a casino open.

“People are attracted to lights, clubs, casinos, hotels. That’s what attracts people on vacation. We got all these empty lots. said Dalia Trevino, 50,manager of Coney Island Bar and Grill on Surf Ave. “We need something built here. Tell Cuomo I got his back.”

{NY Daily News/ Newscenter}


  1. As if Brooklyn doesn’t have enough trouble with crimes from drug addicts, alcohol addicts and the “businessmen” who supply them, now they want problems from compulsive gamblers? This is a very, very bad idea.

  2. This is a terrible, Terrible, TERRIBLE idea. The casino in Yonkers has not helped that city. Gambling is a menace. Stop both the Queens and Brooklyn casino proposals!