Bally’s Wants to Build a Downstate New York Casino Next to Trump’s Bronx Golf Course

Gaming operator Bally’s Corporation has started discussions with The Trump Organization (TTO) to sub-lease 17 acres of Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx for a possible Downstate New York casino. However, that doesn’t mean former President Donald J. Trump will be back in the casino business. He’ll only be a landlord, as Bally’s doesn’t want to use the Trump name for its casino.

The proposed Bally’s casino will require only 10 of the 17 acres, with the rest converted to employee housing and green space for the community. Bally’s is trying to appeal to local politicians with the vision of creating jobs and housing on the golf course they currently dislike.

If Bally’s and the Trump organization agree and apply for a Downstate New York casino license, the proposal has a long path to fruition. First, it will need approval from a local community advisory committee. That includes local council members, the borough president, the local state senator, the mayor, the governor, and more.

Once Bally’s gets local approval, the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) will have the final say. That’s where Bally’s joins a crowded place. At the beginning of the year, the NYSGC started the process for three Downstate New York casino licenses.

Bally’s (Bally’s Corporation 13,14 -2,01%) is already behind the pack, as the application process has already begun.

Politics May Figure in Bally’s Downstate New York Casino Bid

Some New York politicians don’t look favorably at the Trump organization.

In 2021, then-NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio tried unsuccessfully to cancel the golf course lease. His reasoning involved Trump’s association with the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Also, Ferry Point is within Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez‘s district. Cortez, a Democrat like de Blasio, is a vocal critic of Trump. Moreover, she is considered against big business expansion, so Bally’s might have to convince her of the benefits of a casino.

Furthermore, at the local level, Bronx leaders feel that a golf course with an admission price of almost $200 on the weekends does not serve Bronx residents, many of whom cannot afford that.

Instead, leaders are looking for green space, jobs, and housing expansion for the community.

The 192-acre golf course, which was once a garbage dump site, opened in 2014 and cost $127 million to build. The Trump organization leased the land from the city and has another 20 years left.

Regarding the potential casino New York City Councilwoman Marjorie Velasquez said in a statement:

Any project I would consider would need to offer a tangible benefit to my community; particularly local hiring.

The Bronx borough president, Vanessa Gibson, is open to a casino.

She said:

Casino gambling is an important conversation to have.

Bally’s is looking to address some of those local leaders’ concerns. In addition to green space and housing, the proposed casino promises 15,000 construction jobs and 3,500 full-time union jobs. Union jobs will start at a $70,000 per year salary, plus retirement and benefits. Additionally, Bally’s claims that the casino will bring opportunities and economic prosperity for small businesses and residents for generations to come.

Bally’s Is Entering a Very Crowded Casino War

The Downstate New York casino licenses are generating a lot of attention. Many leading national gaming operators are interested in an NYC casino.

The owner of Caesars Sportsbook and Casino, Caesars Entertainment, wants to build a Times Square Casino. Wynn Resorts, owner of WynnBet Casino, has plans for a Hudson Yards casino. Some bids include even larger projects, including Soloviev Group’s “Freedom Plaza.” That project will consist of a casino, two residential towers, a museum, and green space.

The bids are for other boroughs, too. The New York Mets owner wants to build a casino in Queens, while the owners of baseball rivals, the New York Yankees, are interested in a Coney Island casino.

None of the bidders seem worried about the potential cost of launching a casino. The NYSGC set the price for the license at $500 million, plus over $500 million additional for development. That brings the cost beyond $1 billion.

The stakes might become even higher, as all these bidders might fight for only one of the three licenses. It’s anticipated that two existing race tracks with limited casino games will enter the bidding. Many point out that if Resorts World in Queens and Empire City Casino in Yonkers enter the race, they will be ahead of the pack, as some requirements are already established.

Resorts World is part of the Asian Genting Group, one of the world’s largest resort operators, while the Empire City Casino is part of MGM Resorts International, the co-owner of BetMGM Casino.

About the Author

Chav Vasilev

Chav Vasilev

After years of managing fast-casual restaurants, Chav turned his passion for sports and occasional slot wins into a career as an iGaming writer. Sharing his time between Europe and the US, he has been exposed to betting and gambling for years and has closely followed the growth in the US. Chav is a proponent of playing responsibly and playing only at legal online sites. When not writing, you will find him watching and betting on sports, especially soccer, or trying to land the next big bonus on a slot.
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