Speaking on popular radio show The Breakfast Club, Yang offered a casino as a way for New York City to generate tax revenue.
“That casino would generate so much money it would be bananas,” Yang said. “If the city could get that in place and harness some of that — that would be one of the engines of recovery.”
Yang, a former 2020 presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, suggested Governors Island as an opportune location to build a casino.
Governors Island is a 172-acre island located between Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Waterfront. Historically the island has only been publicly accessible from May to October.
Yang’s proposal runs up against immediate legal hurdles. Politico reports casinos are banned on the island according to a 2003 deed restriction.
Alicia Glen, chair of the Governors Island Trust’s board, told Politico: “In addition to the fact that it is prohibited by the deed, there is no scenario under which a casino would fit into the current or future plans for Governors Island.”
Yang is known for out-of-the-ordinary ideas; his 2020 presidential campaign was founded on the message of universal basic income of $1,000 to every American adult.
Even if the Governors Island location fails, Yang’s comments suggest he is interested in bringing retail casinos to the region, something that New York City leaders have long resisted.