In October, gambling giant Caesars Entertainment and real estate investment trust announced their intentions of bringing a casino property in Times Square, Manhattan. However, not everyone in the area is supporting the bid. For instance, most recently, Broadway’s largest theatre owner, Shubert Organization said that it is not fond of the idea of having a casino in the area.
The theatre owner is not the first local group to speak against the casino bid. Previously, the Broadway league, which is a 700-member-plus organization of theatre owners, operators, producers, and general managers claimed that a potential casino would be harmful to the area. This is not good news for the coalition which would need local backing to be selected.
Bid Faces Opposition
VP for Shubert real estate, Julio Peterson, recently spoke on the topic on a podcast by CRBE senior economic advisor Spencer Levy. He shared that he is not against a commercial casino in New York City, but does not want one in Times Square. He notes that the company wants to protect the district and not get lost in the immediate gratification and think about the future sustainability of Broadway.
Meanwhile, there have also been ones who support the Times Square casino proposal. One of those supporters is Actors Equity, which is a labour union representing theatre actors and stage managers. Additionally, former police commissioner, Bill Bratton, and theatre district restaurant owners have also backed the project, as it would mean that restaurants will see an increase in customers.
It should be noted that on top of further local backing SL Green and Caesars Entertainment would have to deal with fierce competition for the full-scale casino license. There are three available licenses and currently, Resorts World NYC and Empire City Casino seem always nailed on to get two of them, leaving the rest candidates brawling for a single one.
Some of the other applicants include Wynn Resorts and Related Companies which teamed up for a casino property in Hudson Yards. Also, there were reports about real estate development and management firm Thor Equities intending to file a proposal for a casino property in Coney Island. Bally’s Corporation, Hard Rock, Las Vegas Sands, and Rush Street Gaming are also among the interested parties.
Gaming Facility Location Board
Once a casino bid has gathered full backing from local communities, it must also be approved by the Gaming Facility Location Board. The panel was introduced in October by the state, responsible to determine the hosts and sitting of up to three downstate casinos. The licenses are not expected to arrive before 2023, and soon a competitive application process will be started.
The board must determine a fee for the license, which can be no less than US$500 million. Candidates will be required to include a revenue impact in their application, and pay a US$1 million application fee. And lastly, the New York Gaming Commission will have a final say on the license approval after the board gives its final verdict.
Source: Boecker, Matt “Broadway’s Largest Theater Owner Opposes NY Casino In Times Square” PlayNY, December 15, 2022