Setback on Election Day for Bally’s New York Casino


Published on: November 13, 2023, 09:15h. 

Last updated on: November 13, 2023, 09:15h.

The Bally’s Corporation is looking to establish a casino resort at the Ferry Point Golf Links in the Bronx. However, the results of last week’s election may impact those plans.

Bally's New York casino Bronx
Kristy Marmorato is set to join the New York Council for the Bronx’s District 13 on Jan. 1, 2024. Marmorato has expressed opposition to allowing Bally’s Corporation to construct an integrated casino resort at Ferry Links golf course. (Image: CBS News)

Rhode Island-based Bally’s is positioning itself to secure one of the three downstate casino licenses that New York officials are expected to grant next year. Bally’s is proposing to build an integrated resort at its Bally’s Golf Links at Ferry Point.

45-year-old Kristy Marmorato caused an upset in the borough last week by becoming the first Republican in 40 years to win a New York City Council seat representing the Bronx. Marmorato defeated incumbent Marjorie Velasquez in District 13.

The divergent views of Marmorato and Velasquez on the Bronx casino initiative reflect the split opinions in the area. While Velasquez supports the idea, Marmorato opposes the initiative.

“I’m opposed to the casino,” Marmorato expressed before the Nov. 7 election. “We have the highest rate of asthma in the city, and this is going to be an environmental nightmare.”

Upon replacing Velasquez in January, Marmorato will be one of seven Republicans on the 51-member New York City Council.

Ferry Links Site

The Ferry Links Golf Course was established on the site of a former landfill that was active until the mid-1960s. Redevelopment of the property was delayed for years after it was transferred to the New York City Parks Department.

In 2000, a plan to construct a golf course on the 220-acre site was realized under Rudy Giuliani’s mayorship, with renowned golfer Jack Nicklaus designing the 18-hole course.

However, the project faced various delays, primarily due to environmental concerns such as methane gas from the old landfill. The city spent millions of dollars in an effort to clean up the site for redevelopment.

Nicklaus’ design began to take shape in 2011 when construction commenced. During this period, the Trump Organization was granted a lease to operate the course by New York.

In addition to annual lease payments, Donald Trump’s company agreed to construct a 20,000-square-foot clubhouse and a facility for weddings and events.

The Trump Organization managed the Ferry Links golf course until this year, when Bally’s acquired the lease for an astounding $60 million. Eric Trump, the company’s Executive Vice President, stated that they had “no prior intention of selling” the management rights, but Bally’s made an “exceptional offer”.

Bally’s Support Wanes

The New York Gaming Facility Location Board is responsible for determining which applicants will receive the three sought-after downstate licenses. The favorites are MGM Resorts’ Empire City Casino in Yonkers and Genting’s Resorts World New York City in Queens, currently racinos offering video lottery terminals but no live dealer table games or sports betting.

Seven to 10 bids are expected to compete for the third and final gaming license. For a casino bid to qualify for review, the application needs support from the applicable Community Advisory Committee (CAC).

In the case of the Bally’s casino proposal, the Bronx’s CAC comprises New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), NYC Mayor Eric Adams (D), New York State Sen. Nathalia Fernandez (D-District 34), Assemblyman Kenny Burgos (D-District 85), and Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson. The sixth and final seat is held by the relevant city councilmember, which will be Republican Marmorato from January 1.

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