Sheldon Silver Eyes Willets Point Casino, Report Says

By Nigel Chiwaya on August 13, 2012 12:42pm 

A Willets Point Casino would be built next to Citi Field.
A Willets Point Casino would be built next to Citi Field.
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William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

WILLETS POINT — State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is eyeing Willets Point as a possible location for a full-service casino in the city, the Daily News reported.

The heavily industrial site near Shea Stadium, which is slated to undergo extensive redevelopment, is among several locations that the speaker floated for the proposed gambling palace, including Coney Island.

Casino gambling is currently illegal in New York State, but the legislature took preliminary steps earlier this year to change the state constitution.

While the Javits Center on Manhattan's West Side is a desired location for a casino, Silver has ruled it out due to it's dense population, the News said.

A Willets Point casino would be built as part of the area's massive renovation, which would replace the neighborhood's complex of auto repair shops with movie theaters, housing and a hotel.

And although a spokeperson for Mayor Michael Bloomberg has denied any preference, the report says that administration is said to be backing the Willets Point location.

The report could not be immediately confirmed.

Marylin Bitterman, district manager of Community Board 7 in Queens, said she has heard rumors of the Willets Point Casino, but the board has not yet been involved in any meeting about such a project.

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