Bally’s Likely to Pull Trump Name From Bronx Golf Course

Posted on: February 14, 2023, 01:50h. 

Last updated on: February 14, 2023, 03:12h.

If it’s successful in its bid to procure a New York casino permit, Bally’s (NYSE: BALY) would likely pull the Trump name from a golf course in the Bronx.

Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx, NY. Bally’s will likely remove the Trump name from the venue if it gets approval to build a casino there. (Image: New York Times)

The regional casino operator is in talks with the Trump Organization about using 17 acres at the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx as the site of a new gaming venue. The course sits on 192 acres that former President Donald Trump’s company leases from New York City.

Last December, Bally’s reached an agreement with the Trump Organization under which the gaming company can take control of 17 acres, essentially subleasing the land from Trump’s company. Bally’s Chairman Soo Kim, whose Standard General hedge fund is the gaming company’s largest shareholder, told the New York Times the firm can make a payment at any time, essentially moving into the Trump Organization’s lease.

The Trump Organization’s lease with the city has less than 20 years left, and the city has to sign off on any new plans for the property.

For Bally’s Bronx Ambitions, Lots of Moving Parts

The 17 acres Bally’s can sublease from the Trump Organization includes the clubhouse, driving range, and parking lot, as well as an area including signage bearing the former president’s surname. Should the gaming company pay Trump’s conglomerate and exercise its sublease rights, it can remove the Trump name under the terms of that pact.

Kim also told the Times that Bally’s would ultimately like to acquire all of the Ferry Point land, using a portion for its planned $2.5 billion casino hotel while turning the remainder into parks and green space that the public can enjoy. That could curry the favor of local politicians who have long been irked by the presence of a pricy golf course in a community where many folks don’t have the means to enjoy that facility.

All of that is based on the premise that Bally’s will be one of the winning bidders for three downstate gaming permits. That field is teeming with competition, and its outcome won’t likely be known until late this year or early 2024.

There’s rampant speculation that MGM Resorts International’s Empire City Casino in Yonkers and Resorts World New York in Queens will be approved to convert to traditional casinos, commanding two of the three downstate permits. That leaves Bally’s and the likes of Caesars Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands, and Wynn Resorts, among others, vying for just one set of rights to build a casino in the New York City area.

Bronx Politics is a Factor to Consider

Owing to New York City’s political leanings, removing the Trump name could be a shrewd move for Bally’s Bronx plans. Additionally, there is some momentum among local policymakers to make Ferry Point more usable to the public and to create new jobs. On that note, Bally’s is promising 15K construction jobs and 3,500 high-paying, permanent union roles.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) could play a role in the matter. Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point is in her district, and while she’s no friend of the former president, she’s not necessarily an ally to big business interests, either.

In 2019, she led an effort to block Amazon’s plans to put a second headquarters in Long Island City, Queens. Additionally, climate change and other environmental issues are among her areas of emphasis, indicating that if any new development at Ferry Point doesn’t prioritize environmental friendliness, the plan could stall. That’s particularly relevant when considering the golf course resides on land that was formerly a waste dump.