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Mayoral Candidate Proposes New Casino Plans

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Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang is proposing a new source of revenue for New York City, a casino. Yang suggests that the Governors Island would provide a suitable site for the casino. According to Yang, the casino will help raise revenue and benefit the city in the long run. 

“That casino would generate so much money it would be bananas,” Yang said. “If the city could get that in place and harness some of that — that would be one of the engines of recovery.”

Governors Island has the making of a suitable site for the casino. The Island is home to various businesses, restaurants, a park, and lots of open space. It measures more than 170-acre, and at one time, it was home to the military and Coast Guard facility in New York Harbor.

The former entrepreneur told a group of reporters that the city needs to move with the times and create ways to bring more visitors into its shores. Housing a casino on the Island would bring lots of tourists and generate millions in revenues annually. Such massive revenues would play a key role in offsetting some of Yang’s proposed $1 billion basic income plan, which would transfer direct payments to some of the state’s indigent residents.

“The casino is going to be in an environment right now that is essentially unused,” Yang said.

Stumbling Blocks

There are a few challenges against Yang’s proposal. Firstly, casinos are prohibited on Governors Island, thanks to a 2003 deed restriction put in place by the federal government. Also, the unused parts of the Island won’t stay unused for long. 

There are ongoing talks between the Governors Island Trust to rezone the free space in order to bring development to the Island. 

“The current plans for Governors Island are focused on developing a mixed-use campus that will provide educational, commercial, and hospitality offerings centered on the theme of climate change and sustainability,” said Alicia Glen, chair of the trust’s board and former deputy mayor. “In addition to the fact that it is prohibited by the deed, there is no scenario under which a casino would fit into the current or future plans for Governors Island.”

Yang’s team insists that the plan is still in infancy, rather than a complete proposal 

“Andrew believes in constantly discussing new and creative ideas to help rebuild our city — but he also believes that any major development project must be community-led,” Yang spokesperson Chris Coffey said in a statement. “That’s why this idea, like many others, would not advance unless stakeholders believed in the process, which is far from even beginning.”


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