The Empire Slate: Questions Arise About Adams Appointee’s Casino Job

There's potential conflict of interest in the mayor's office while Yankees and Mets pursue pennants
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“The Empire Slate” is a weekly look at New York gambling news, as well as betting angles and trends involving New York sports.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that Mayor Eric Adams has appointed a former city police official and close confidant to be a paid senior advisor while allowing him to keep his job as an executive at Resorts World New York City casino in Queens. The unusual arrangement raises potential conflict-of-interest concerns.

According to the report, Timothy Pearson, a retired police inspector, has served in both his official capacity and as vice president overseeing security at the casino while also drawing his $124,000 annual city police pension. The report comes as Resorts World, located next to Aqueduct racino, seeks to expand its offerings to include table games as an applicant for one of the three downstate casino licenses to be reviewed starting this fall.

New York law prohibits city officials from simultaneously receiving a salary and a pension from the city, but Pearson, according to the published report, is able to do so because he is being paid by a nonprofit controlled by the mayor.

Casino licenses soon to be under review

Adams, along with Gov. Kathy Hochul, will be a pivotal figure in the allocation of the three casino licenses. Resorts World, along with the MGM property at Yonkers racino, has long been considered a near-lock to land one of the downstate licenses, with the third considered at large. Mets owner Steve Cohen is among those who reportedly have been working back channels to try to land one of the licenses for a full-service casino near Citi Field.

Given the amount of money at stake, with upfront licensing fees of at least $500 million, it’s crucial that the process be done in the most transparent manner possible. Unfortunately, it’s looking like much of the real work is being done far from public scrutiny, raising questions that aren’t going to go away anytime soon.

At the very least, it’s bad optics. At the worst, it raises questions about the fairness of the process.

Yankees free fall creating an opportunity?

Things are far from hunky-dory at the moment around the Yankees, who have lost seven of their last eight games and seen scant returns thus far from the players they acquired near the Aug. 2 trade deadline.

In other words, the time might finally be ripe to jump back into the futures market.

In one week, the Yankees’ World Series odds have gone from +350 at most books to as high as +450 (at FanDuel). The World Series favorites not long ago, the Yanks have fallen behind the Astros (+425) at FanDuel, with the Mets just a smidge behind at +475.

So, why is this a good time to consider a Yankees World Series wager? For one thing, they’re one of four teams — along with the Dodgers, Mets, and Astros — to have, essentially, a 100% chance of making the playoffs, per FanGraphs projections. With only 50 games left, they’re highly unlikely to blow a 10-game division lead and, according to FanGraphs, they have a 94.2% chance of clinching a first-round playoff bye, which is crucial.

Trade moves explained?

In fact, the Yankees’ confidence from their huge lead may have allowed them to discount the remainder of the regular season when making their trade deadline moves.

If they were worried about August and September, for example, it would have made no sense to trade starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery to the Cardinals for injured center fielder Harrison Bader. They made that move because they determined Montgomery wasn’t going to be good enough to crack their postseason rotation and they wanted to move Aaron Judge out of center field once Bader returns to avoid the possibility of injury for the presumptive American League MVP (-450 at most books).

The team’s biggest acquisition was Frankie Montas, who had a forgettable Yankees debut in St. Louis, where he allowed six runs in three innings Sunday. But Montas looked healthy in that game, registering 97 mph with his fastball in the first inning, and that’s reason enough to believe he’ll be fine once he builds his body back up after dealing with a bit of shoulder soreness last month.

And with Giancarlo Stanton likely to return from an Achilles tendon injury within a week or so, combined with Anthony Rizzo’s return to the lineup following several days of back soreness, the offense — which hasn’t really been bad anyway — should be more than fine even without Matt Carpenter, who broke his foot and is out until October, at the earliest.

Timing is everything, and if you wait to wager until the playoffs begin, good luck getting the Yankees at this good of a price.

Mets rolling along

The Mets, meanwhile, have won six in a row and are helping those who have wagered on them lately to beat the house.

The Mets haven’t been underdogs since their July 13 game in Atlanta, and they have won 15 of their last 17 games overall. What’s more, they have covered the over in the run total in nine of their last 12 games. The Mets haven’t been shut out since July 14 and they’re averaging 6.2 runs in their last 10 games.

Per FanGraphs, the Mets have a 95.7% chance of clinching a first-round bye and an 18.1% chance to win the World Series. The Mets are +475 to win it all at most of the New York mobile sportsbooks, which translates to a 17.4% probability, so — once the vigorish is factored in — they’re really not a bad World Series play at this point either. In fact, according to FanGraphs probabilities, their odds are better than those of the Yankees at the moment.

That said, the schedule gets much stiffer in the coming days, with 16 of the Mets’ next 19 games coming against serious contenders in the Braves, Phillies, Yankees and Dodgers.

Photo: Shutterstock

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