- Last Updated: 10:22 PM, February 5, 2013
- Posted: February 06, 2013
It’s been so long since the New York Mets were genuine contenders, it should come as no surprise that the team’s owners are looking to get into a different game.
Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz want to roll the fiscal dice on a full-fledged casino. And they want to put it right next to the Amazins’ home in Queens, Citi Field.
As The Post’s Rich Calder reported yesterday, the Mets’ interest here is obvious: The team owes $162 million in phony profits it received from the Bernie Madoff scam. Wilpon and Katz’s answer is to let it all ride, so to speak, on another gamble.
At the moment, it’s still a long shot. In addition to getting past city and state hurdles, it also depends on voters agreeing to amend the state Constitution to allow Las Vegas-style gambling. Not to mention approval from Major League Baseball.
No one doubts casinos can be lucrative. The question is whether they are wise.
What, for example, does plopping a casino next door to the Mets communicate to people looking for a family-friendly outing at the ballpark?
Stranger still, the same New York governments that are so enthusiastic about casinos are working overtime to combat smoking and obesity, which they deem self-destructive behavior. What could be more self-destructive than giving folks who can least afford it the opportunity to gamble away their paychecks?
Gov. Cuomo is on record opposing casinos in the city but favors opening them elsewhere in the state. His argument for economic development would have more credibility if he weren’t at the same time dragging his feet on fracking, a certain job-creator that is already proving an economic boon to states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Then there’s Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who insists the Legislature be involved in the casino selection and siting process. Apparently New York hasn’t learned the lesson of Aqueduct: Mixing legislators and casinos is an invitation to corruption.
Maybe the Mets could persuade Pete Rose to lend his good name to this effort.Follow @NYPostOpinion