June 19, 2023 3 min read

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Developer Defends Controversial Coney Island Casino Project

Thor Equities, the development company behind the project, highlighted the benefits such a project would bring to local communities

The company estimates its casino resort would bring approximately 4,000 jobs to the area along with other economic benefits. However, many locals have rallied against the project, concerned about the social costs inherent in a high-profile gambling venue. Such ongoing controversy may affect the planned casino’s chances of obtaining one of the limited New York licenses.

Casino Supporters Highlighted the Attractive Job Opportunities

Thor Equities, known for its real estate ventures and urban development projects, is part of the consortium behind the planned Coney Island casino resort. The company has invested significant efforts in marketing, attempting to convince locals of the benefits such an establishment would bring to the area.

According to the developer, the casino would bring 4,000 well-paid, year-round jobs, providing residents with stable income and potential career growth. Former City Council member Robert Cornegy noted the venue would focus most of its recruitment and job training efforts on local communities, promising wages of up to $30 an hour and enticing benefits.

Being able to bring decent paying, year-round jobs is something that I feel like I am compelled to push and demand… The hotel trade is one of the more lucrative opportunities.

Robert Cornegy, former New York City Council member

Cornegy highlighted the casino industry’s rising popularity, highlighting its attractiveness for people of color looking to earn a middle-class standard of living. The planned venue would also positively impact surrounding businesses, attracting visitors and reinvesting in the community through infrastructure improvements, public services, and social programs.

Community Representatives Remain Unconvinced

Despite the developer’s efforts to bolster the casino project’s public image, many locals remain unconvinced. Critics argue that a casino could contribute to issues such as problem gambling, increased crime rates, and a change in the neighborhood’s character. Brooklyn’s Community Board 13 even urged local officials to reject the project, highlighting its hidden dangers.

According to Board members, a high-profile casino threatened to turn Coney Island into another Atlantic City, bringing all the gambling industry’s negatives to a struggling neighborhood. The area consistently falls behind in income and unemployment rates, but many residents cannot work full-time, diminishing the potential positive impact of a casino.

How do you guarantee a percentage of jobs are going into the community? You just can’t… I don’t see someone in hospitality lasting that long.

Lucy Mujica Diaz, Community Board 13 chairperson

Thor Equities’ recent promises only widen the rift between casino proponents and the stiff local opposition. Despite ongoing efforts to appease the locals, the backlash continues to intensify. Such actions can potentially undermine the consortium’s chances of securing one of New York’s three coveted casino licenses, as few other competitors face the same level of opposition.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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