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NYC lawmaker blocks Steve Cohen’s $8B casino project by Mets’ Citi Field

Steve Cohens Mets are losers and so is apparently his Queens casino bid, at least for now.

State Sen. Jessica Ramos who represents the Flushing-Corona area where Cohen wants to erect an $8 billion “Metropolitan Park” casino-entertainment complex says she will not introduce legislation allowing the billionaire clubhouse owner to obtain a permit needed for his project to go forward.

Cohen and his proposed-casino partner, Hard Rock, need a state law enacted to redesignate the lots around the Mets’ Citi Field stadium from parkland to entertainment use for their plan.

I will not introduce legislation to alienate parkland in Corona for the purposes of a casino,” Ramos said in a statement Tuesday.

She said her constituents are “desperate for green space, and recreation for the whole family” — not gambling.

“We disagree on the premise that we have to accept a casino in our backyard as the trade-off. I resent the conditions and the generations of neglect that have made many of us so desperate that we would be willing to settle, the Queens lawmaker said.

Without the rezoning, Cohen’s project can’t even get into the batter’s box for consideration by state regulators, who are currently fielding his city casino bid and a host of others.

Theoretically, another state senator could introduce the bill to aid Cohen’s plan. But lawmakers are reluctant to big-foot a colleague on a project important in his or her district, and it would be rare to do so, sources said.

A proposed redesignation bill has been introduced in the state assembly but needs to travel the same course in the state senate, too.

Nearly a dozen different bidders are vying for three state casino licenses to operate in or around New York City. Site selection and licenses are expected to be awarded by the end of 2025, so Cohen has some time to lift the odds — but not much.

As an alternative, Ramos said she has drafted a bill that would allow Cohen to build a convention center and hotel — but not a casino — and more than double the proposed open green space.

“Mr. Cohen and Hard Rock would still make a profit, albeit less,” she acknowledged in her statement.

“Mr. Cohen and his team have often declared their love for our community and said they recognize our potential. Finding a path forward would be a good way to show it.

Ramos’ opposition to a casino is a setback for Cohen — who has spent millions on a lobbying and a charm offensive and whose foundation recently donated a staggering $116 million to CUNY’s LaGuardia Community College.

His casino project has won support from other key Queens politicians — including Borough President Donovan Richards and City Councilman Francisco Moya, who also represents the area.

Cohen’s camp is vowing to not give up on the casino project — while arguing that Ramos should not have sole veto power over it.

“While we respect Senator Ramoss point of view, the state never intended any one person to have the ability to single-handedly stop or approve a gaming project,” said Karl Rickett, a spokesman for Metropolitan Park/Cohen, in an e-mail to The Post.

“As Metropolitan Park enjoys overwhelming support from elected officials, unions, and the local community we are confident that we have the best project in the best location,” Rickett said. “We have over a year and multiple pathways to secure the required approvals.

“Our team remains committed to bringing Metropolitan Park to life, with gaming as the only viable economic engine to make the 23,000 jobs, $8 Billion investment and substantial community benefits possible.”

Richards chimed in, “No one elected official should be the sole arbiter of this $8 billion investment, so I strongly urge Governor Hochul and the State Senate to explore other avenues to bring the Metropolitan Park proposal to life and ensure that Queens continues to get the money we deserve.”

Some other Democratic lawmakers privately gripe that Ramos’ ambitions are getting the best of her.

Much like her fake run for mayor that everyone knows isnt happening, her yearlong, pre-determined decision on the local casino was nothing more than a self-absorbed play for attention, one of Ramoss Democratic colleagues in the Senate told The Post.

One of Ramos colleagues, Queens state Sen. Michael Gianaris, in fact did unilaterally use his power in 2019 to block Amazon from opening a $3 billion East Coast headquarters on his turf in Long Island City.

Ramos, asked by The Post if she could be thwarted in any way in her quest, replied, I would be very surprised.

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“I think that would be a disservice to our legislative body if members’ wishes were not respected,” she said. “I’m in a position to defend the will of my constituents, and I would be shocked actually, I would be very surprised, if the state senate would allow for someone else to introduce such legislation.

Rivals bidders took note of Cohen’s troubles, saying just throwing money around doesn’t always work.

His entire approach has been to outspend and intimidate with his wallet. And that kinda sucks. Im glad the system is working,” said a source for a rival bidder.

But Cohen’s problem in Albany could also negatively impact another bidder, Bally’s, which last year acquired the lease for the former Trump golf course at Ferry Point in The Bronx. Bally’s project also needs legislation to convert parkland there for use as a casino.

Other expect bidders include Related Companies/Wynn Resorts, which is proposing a $12 billion casino/office tower complex in Hudson Yards in Manhattan;  SL Green/Caesars/Roc Nation bid for Times Square; Silverstein Properties in Hells Kitchen, and Thor Equity consortium gaming facility complex along the Coney Island boardwalk.

Meanwhile, existing slots parlors  Resorts World at Aqueduct race track and MGM  Empire City at Yonkers raceway are vying for licenses to offer live table games.

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