New York Mets owner and hedge fund legend Steve Cohen is reportedly in discussions with Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) about bringing a casino to the Citi Field area.
The $900 million (over $1 billion in today’s dollars) Citi Field, the Mets’ home ballpark, is located in the borough of Queens. The talks between the Point72 Asset Management founder and the largest US gaming company by market value are described as preliminary, according to Sportico, which broke the story earlier today.
New York is in the early stages of considering casino gaming expansion in the downstate region, including a third venue. The other two properties — MGM Resorts’ Empire City in Yonkers and Resorts World New York City (RWNY) in Queens — hold two of the three licenses, but must wait until 2023 to offer table games and sports wagering.
Steve thinks that Willets Point needs to be addressed long-term – it’s a mess,” said a Mets spokesperson, in an interview with Sportico. “He has been hearing lots of ideas, and the Mets want to be part of those conversations to ensure the interests of our fans and the local community are well-represented.”
Citi Field, located in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, was built in 2009 as a replacement for the nearby Shea Stadium.
Long-Running Sands/New York Rumors
Sands isn’t a new name in the Big Apple speculation, as the company has long been rumored to be interested in bringing an integrated resort to the largest US city.
While Manhattan is the preferred borough of operators angling for a New York City gaming license, that’s all but off the table at this point. However, a gaming venue near a major sports facility could be attractive to any operator, including Sands, which currently lacks exposure to the US.
Earlier this year, the company announced the sale of its Las Vegas assets to Apollo Global Management and VICI Properties for $6.25 billion. Efforts to bring an integrated resort to Texas languished, as lawmakers in that state didn’t prioritize the issue in the most recent legislative session. LVS has also been tied to speculation regarding potential construction of a gaming venue in Jacksonville, Florida. But that chatter died down in recent months.
Currently, LVS’s portfolio consists of the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and five integrated resorts in Macau, where the operator commands the largest market share.
Cohen Ties, NYC Competition
Previously, it was reported that Bally’s (NYSE:BALY) and Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) would vie with Sands for the third New York license. But those operators haven’t publicly commented on the matter, while LVS CEO Rob Goldstein confirmed to the New York Post earlier this year the company is looking at New York City.
As for Cohen and Sands, the two have some ties, albeit loose. The late Sheldon Adelson, formerly Sands chairman and chief executive officer, was once rumored to be a potential investor in the Mets — a rumor which he ultimately refuted.
Today, Point72 Asset Management — Cohen’s family office — holds call options on LVS stock. But it’s a small position, and one of more than 1,000 held by the investment vehicle.
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