Coney Island Public Engagement Report Reveals Community Opposition to $3B Casino

Posted on: July 12, 2023, 12:48h. 

Last updated on: July 12, 2023, 01:09h.

A newly released study concludes that the majority of Coney Island residents are opposed to allowing a $3 billion integrated casino resort to be built at Surf and Stillwell avenues near the iconic Riegelmann Boardwalk.

Coney Island casino New York
A rendering of The Coney Casino & Resort. The $3 billion development targeting New York’s Coney Island faces an uphill batter after the Brooklyn Borough president said about three in four residents who submitted comments on the project have been in opposition to the project. (Image: The Coney Casino & Resort)

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso’s (D) office released the 40-page “Public Engagement Report: Coney Island Casino Proposal” on Tuesday. The report details feedback from more than 200 area residents.

Reynoso hosted two public engagement sessions on March 6 to meet directly with Coney Island residents and stakeholders about the casino resort proposed by a consortium led by New York real estate firm Thor Equities. The development group additionally involves Saratoga Casino Holdings, the Chickasaw Nation, and Legends Hospitality.

The consortium pitched Coney Island officials and the Brooklyn Borough government a $3 billion project, inclusive of the one-time $500 million licensing fee for the state, called The Coney Casino & Resort. The latest blueprint includes a casino, hotel, a one-acre public park, retail shopping, and multiple restaurants.

Community Concerns

In the casino study review, Reynoso, who has stayed neutral on the casino issue, said about three in four public comments received were against the resort.

The feedback raised concerns about a casino potentially resulting in increased crime, drug and alcohol use, traffic, gambling addiction, and higher rents. Those in the opposition also questioned if their property values might diminish with a casino so close, and also raised worries about the impact an integrated resort could have on nearby businesses.

On the other side, backers of the casino cited more local jobs and a casino possibly making Coney Island a year-round destination as leading causes for their support.

Reynoso said the public engagement findings have been sent to the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board to help the state agency decide where the three downstate casino licenses will be awarded. Reynoso said he hopes that the Thor consortium reviews the findings to improve their bid.

Along with needing the state Gaming Facility Location Board to pick The Coney for one of the three downstate concessions, the resort requires local approval from a newly formed Community Advisory Committee (CAC).

The CAC is to consist of six members. Those seats are to be appointed by the governor, mayor of New York City, applicable New York State senator and assemblyperson, applicable borough president, and an applicable city councilor.

Touting Benefits

Hearing criticism of The Coney, the Thor consortium recently debuted a website to promote the benefits the resort could deliver to the Brooklyn neighborhood. The website,, claims a casino would be “New York’s new beacon of economic opportunity.”

The developers say the resort would create thousands of new jobs, generate new local tax money, and provide the region with an overall economic trigger. As for the public feedback, the development entity will consider all input, the website explains.

“Our team is committed to being good neighbors and better community members. That means listening when you speak and making sure that this project betters Coney Island,” states. “And that’s why — from more parking spaces to increased public safety — when community members voice concerns about issues in the neighborhood, we listen and incorporate them into our plans.”