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Mets Eye Casino at Citi to Assist in Financial Losses

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With the Mets still getting over the dark days of Madoff scandal, the franchise ponders several ways to recover some of their losses. The team from flushing announced this past weekend their plans to build a Las Vegas style casino next to Citi Field to assist in offsetting some of their financial losses.

The 2012 Mets finished a promising season with a record of 74-88, that’s a record that does not gain cash for the organization. However, the team had lowered payroll to about $93 million this season, down from $143 million in 2011, when the team lost $70 million. The Mets aren’t expected to be contenders in the 2013 season, but a bright future is expected as the team resigned superstar David Wright to a long contract extension and pulled off an impressive trade this offseason.

Team owners Fred Wilson and Saul Katz plan to bring a massive casino with gaming tables and slots, a 500-room, full-service hotel, 1.8 million square feet of retail and other amenities to the Willets Point development site in Queens. The Mets believe it will be a fun place for families and fans as well as a major attraction for New York visitors. The Southampton-based Shinnecock Indian Nation signed on to operate the casino, and the Wilpons and partners even offered the city $100 million for the 62-acre site.

Now the Mets do have some obstacles ahead of them as they move forward on their casino project. City officials recently pulled the casino from the Willets Point plan partly because they thought the government-approval process would take too long, sources said. However, a city spokesman declined to comment when asked if the city would push for a casino there if the state Legislature eventually backs it. All in all, both mayor Bloomberg and governor Cuomo are on board with the plans. Construction isn’t expected to break ground for at least a year. The projects developers first have to clear out a lot of the many of junkyards that are on part of the site.

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