Kristy Marmorato’s Victory Poses a Threat to Bronx Casino ProposalNovember 13, 2023
The Bronx City Council Race Generates Major Impact on Casino Plans
A rare Republican victory in a City Council race in the east Bronx is bad news for developers looking to build a casino at Ferry Point. Kristy Marmorato, a 45-year-old Republican, won the council seat and has expressed opposition to the Bally’s casino chain’s bid to build a casino in her district. This is significant because bidders for downstate casino licenses must secure majority approval from six-member panels that include a representative from the local Council member.
The current Council representative, Marjorie Velázquez, has been supportive of the casino plan, but Marmorato’s victory indicates a shift in perspective. She campaigned on a platform centered on local control and will not favor Bally’s designs for a casino near a struggling golf course in the area. Many local residents also remain against the casino concept.
Bally’s, a casino chain based in Rhode Island, has been trying to win community support by launching a free bus route in the area. However, community opposition to the casino bids has been evident across the city. The bidding process for the downstate casino licenses is expected to result in the approval of two permits for existing racinos with horse racing and digital betting, leaving at least nine developers competing for the final license.
Developers have tried to engage their communities and win support for their casino plans, but local panels will assess each bid to include representatives from local state officials, the mayor, and the governor. While Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, Sen. Nathalia Fernandez, and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto have not yet taken firm positions on the Bally’s bid, local support will play a crucial role in the approval process.