Bally’s Sounds Positive Tone on Bronx Casino Prospects

Posted on: June 11, 2024, 04:27h. 

Last updated on: June 12, 2024, 10:24h.

Although it still needs some help from some politicians, Bally’s (NYSE: BALY) is bullish on its prospects to land a permit to develop a casino hotel in the Bronx, NY.

Bally's Bronx
Bally’s Links in the Bronx, NY. The gaming company is hopeful about its chances to bring a casino to the property. (Image: NY1)

Last year, the Rhode Island-based regional casino operator acquired the lease rights to the golf course formerly known as Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx with hopes of eventually bringing an integrated resort to the property. The gaming company reportedly paid the Trump Organization — the former president’s business empire — $60 million to acquire those rights.

In an attempt to gain favor with the city, Bally’s stripped the Trump name from the property, renaming it “Bally Links.”

In a recent interview with News 12, Bally’s Chairman Soo Kim said his company is planning what would be “the largest private investment in the Bronx.” However, the land on which the operator is hoping to build a gaming venue is designated as parkland, and that classification can only be altered legislatively. Assemblyman Michael Benedetto (D-The Bronx) represents the district and hasn’t proposed such a bill.

I am still listening to my constituents and hearing their opinions … on the particular issue and weighing which way we should go on that,” Benedetto told News 12.

New York’s 2024 legislative session ended last week.

Bally’s Has Time to Build Support for Bronx Casino

While there was a late-session push to expedite the downstate casino approval process, a bill didn’t make its way to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) desk.

That means it’s likely New York regulators won’t make any decisions on the winners of the three New York City-area casino permits until late 2025 or early 2026. It’s possible that the longer timeline could help contenders such as Bally’s build support and push lawmakers to draft legislation to alter parkland designation.

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen and Hard Rock International face a similar issue in Queens where State Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-Queens) recently said she won’t support parkland alienation legislation for Willets Point.

Kim, whose hedge fund is the largest Bally’s shareholder and who is attempting to acquire the gaming company, said in the media interview that the operator is excited about its prospects in the Bronx and realizes that the process takes time.

Bronx Casino Far from Done Deal

Assessing exactly where Bally’s ranks among the 11 bidders for the trio of downstate casino permits is difficult, but consensus has held that MGM Resorts International’s Empire City in Yonkers and Resorts World New York in Queens are almost guaranteed to win two of those permits.

There’s been chatter suggesting that Las Vegas Sands (Nassau County) and Wynn Resorts (Hudson Yards) are among the more credible contenders for the third permit.

Additionally, some investors are concerned that Bally’s is juggling too many issues at the moment, including the aforementioned takeover bid and bringing its permanent Chicago casino across the finish line. At least one Bally’s shareholder has suggested the company should scrap its New York plans in an effort to save cash.