Michael Holt | October 25, 2022
Those who know me, know that I like to gamble here and there from poker to blackjack (coincidentally I'm heading to Vegas tomorrow). New York State legalized casinos in 2013 but agreed not to establish any downstate until 2023. In April, the state approved three casino licenses for the NYC region. Developer SL Green and Caesars Entertainment on Thursday announced plans to pursue a gaming license for a potential Caesars Palace casino in the heart of Times Square at 1515 Broadway, a 54-story office building. I have to say, I support the proposals for casinos in NYC but for other reasons besides fulfilling my leisure activity. Once the current building is redeveloped, the proposed Caesars Palace Times Square will include a hotel, wellness center, theater space for The Lion King, and an expansive selection of entertainment, food, and drink options.
Some of the benefits would be additional revenue, jobs, tourism, and entertainment. The approval would increase security, surveillance, traffic reduction implementation, and sanitation. A fun perk, if Caesars is approved, would be that Caesars Rewards members will be able to use their credits at nearby Broadway theaters, local hotels, restaurants, shopping stores, comedy clubs, entertainment venues, and more.
Opponents argue that casinos would be bad for the city, pointing to casino towns like Atlantic City, which have seen their economies decline in recent years. I do agree that casinos can have a negative impact on a city. While they may bring in revenue and create jobs, they can also lead to an increase in crime and a decrease in property values. As casino towns like Atlantic City have shown when the casino economy goes down, so does everything else. I feel NYC is different than Atlantic City in so many aspects regarding the demand for tourism and housing as well as the resiliency of the demand for the entertainment & casinos it would have from these projects. Of course, I don't think you should put a casino on the Upper East Side or the residential-type neighborhoods from the Upper West Side to Tribeca, etc. as it would transform the living experience there. More dense and commercial areas such as Times Square and Hudson Yards certainly seem more appropriate.
Depending on who you ask in Broadway the answer on where they stand behind the idea will be different.
The Broadway League, a trade organization that represents theater owners and producers, is against the idea. “The addition of a casino will overwhelm the already densely congested area and would jeopardize the entire neighborhood whose existence is dependent on the success of Broadway,” the Broadway League said in a statement. “Broadway is the key driver of tourism and risking its stability would be detrimental to the city.”
Supporting the proposal is the Actors’ Equity Association stating that a new casino could help drive sales for theaters and local businesses.
“The proposal from the developer for a Times Square casino would be a game changer that boosts security and safety in the Times Square neighborhood with increased security staff, more sanitation equipment and new cameras,” Actors’ Equity said in a statement. “We applaud the developer’s commitment to make the neighborhood safer for arts workers and audience members alike.”
Personally, I think it would be great for the city. Not only will it bring in more revenue and jobs, but it will also give residents and visitors alike a fun and exciting new place to visit and enjoy. So what do you think, should Caesars Palace come to Times Square? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
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