A battle is heating up to win a New York City casino license, with real estate and gambling giants offering competing proposals.
In April, New York state officials voted to issue three new casino permits in the New York City area. The decision has major developers and casino operators competing to secure support from the New York State Gaming Commission and community advisory boards.
Possible sites for the new casinos include Times Square and Hudson Yards in Manhattan, as well as Flushing, Queens, and Yonkers in Westchester County.
Caesars Entertainment and SL Green Realty Corporation are currently aiming to construct a Caesar’s Palace in the heart of Times Square above the Broadway Theater, which shows The Lion King.
Nevada-based Caesars (CZR) has been soliciting support from local businesses and organizations although the project faces opposition from The Broadway League, a national trade association that includes over 700 members. The developers have promised to invest in security and sanitation improvements throughout Times Square. Residents and commuters are concerned about increased congestion in the area and its effect on an already struggling theatre industry.
Other bidders include Wynn Resorts (WYNN), which is aiming to construct a casino in the western part of Hudson Yards. Related Companies, the area’s real estate developer, is obligated to build residential and park space in the area by 2025.
“Racinos,” horse racing tracks that include video slot machines, are also competing for a permit to upgrade their facilities to include full-scale casino services. Genting Group’s Resorts World and MGM Resorts International are two of these facilities and are frontrunners for approval in Queens and Yonkers, respectively. Both properties’ existing infrastructure and community relationship aid in their bidding prospects.
The participation of multiple developers in the permit bidding process, which formally begins on Jan. 6, 2023, has raised anxieties related to privacy concerns and community development. A proposal obtained by New York Times from Caesars Entertainment stated it would add over 50 artificial intelligence cameras throughout Times Square, “each capable of monitoring 85,000+ people per day,” as well as surveillance drones.
The move comes just weeks after New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the installation of cameras inside every subway car.
The New York State Commission has developed an NYC Gaming Facility Location Board to help deliberate on which developers will receive the three casino permits. Members say the board is unlikely to make a decision until late 2023.
Advocates of casino development cite increased tax revenue and tourism as community benefits.