We have seen it across the States of America. Areas that had never embraced gaming have moved forward with regulating online sports betting, daily fantasy sports (DFS), and even casino gaming (online poker, alas, lags far behind). Now states are beginning to eye areas of expansion for their “brick and mortar” operations, with the state of New York casting its gaze to the second-largest city in the country.
Smack in the Middle of Times Square
New York Times journalists Dana Rubinstein, Nicole Hong, and Michael Paulson penned a story last week that sprung the idea. According to the writers a developer, SL Green Realty Corporation, has partnered with Caesars Entertainment to bring a full-fledged casino to the “Crossroads of the World,” Times Square. There are a few hoops to leap through before the dice roll, the roulette wheel spins, and the cards hit the felt in the Big Apple, however.
The state of New York is looking to open three new casino licenses in the state and the battle over those treasured permits is at a fevered pitch. There are casino bids that have also come in from Queens and Brooklyn, and other locales throughout the state have been mentioned as possibly receiving the new licenses. Two “racinos” – horse racing facilities with video slots but no live dealer gaming – already exist in Yonkers and Queens, which are thought to have the edge for two of the full casino licenses.
The Caesars/SL Green development would be located near Times Square, and it has already drawn support from a huge industry that already occupies that area. According to Rubinstein, et. at., the Actors’ Equity Association, the union which services the theater industry’s actors and stage managers, has eagerly embraced the idea of a casino near Broadway. The thought is that the two businesses would be able to cohabitate and share customers while both enjoying increased security for everyone involved.
But they are not the only familiar gaming names in play.
Caesars Faces Familiar Foes
Rubinstein, Hong, and Paulson report that there are several major casino organizations in play for that final license, with all of them eyeing the New York City area for operations. Steve Cohen, who is the majority owner of the New York Mets, has reportedly been talking with the Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida, who is the owner of the Hard Rock brand. In those negotiations, Cohen and the Hard Rock would establish a casino operation near the team’s home stadium, Citi Field, in Queens.
Two other major players have dance partners for the Big Apple Gambling Ball. The Las Vegas Sands Corporation would love to get into the action, but they as of yet have been unable to negotiate a development partner for their endeavors. Wynn Casinos is in the mix, through their partnership with Related Properties, in a proposed development on the Hudson Yards grounds.
There is big money that is being talked about for this casino license. Bidding for the precious permit could earn the New York coffers more than $500 million in licensing fees alone. That does not include any of the taxes from the development of the property, the proposed housing/hotels/entertainment options that the properties would bring, nor the actual money that the casinos themselves would generate.
There will be a long waiting period before this comes to fruition, however. A committee was founded earlier this month to review the different applications from those vying for the licenses. The committee will accept applications beginning January 6., but a final decision would not be made until later in 2023 at the earliest. Using this as a guideline, it would take another couple of years – 2025 – before any casino gaming could come to life on Broadway, in Times Square, or anywhere else in the Big Apple.