Brooklyn's biggest booster envisions Coney Island as a gamblers' paradise, but bringing a gaming palace there won't be easy, observers say.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, responding to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's call to legalize live casino gaming, said Coney Island "is a natural location and should be part of the mix when considering possibilities."
A Coney Island casino would create jobs and boost local businesses, he said.
Valerio Ferrari, president of Central Amusement International, which owns Coney Island's Luna Park and Scream Zone, said that "any attraction that can bring new visitors, jobs and economic opportunity to Coney Island merits consideration."
Though New York has nine "racinos" and five Indian-operated gaming halls, legalizing Las Vegas-style casinos would require Albany lawmakers to approve measures in two consecutive sessions and win a statewide referendum, which could go before voters as early as 2013.
If that happens, observers said, the racino at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens -- Resorts World New York -- would be a likely spot to build a full casino.
That could kill Coney Island's chances, said City Councilman Domenic Recchia (D-Coney Island), if lawmakers decide they don't want two gaming halls so close to one another.
Recchia, along with Assemb. Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Sheepshead Bay), said they were open to gaming at Coney Island, but they were also wary of negative effects such as gambling addiction.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday that, though he didn't favor gambling, he understood why Cuomo was considering it as a way to improve state revenue.
"I just want to make sure that if there is gambling, some of those revenues do come to New York City. We need the revenues as well," Bloomberg said.
With Tim Herrera