There could be a whole new meaning to “watching the ball drop” at Times Square in the near future.
The New York State Gaming Commission will be reviewing bids for downstate casino sites in the coming months and, according to a New York Post report, Times Square remains in the conversation.
Times Square, of course, is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions, drawing an estimated 50 million visitors annually. Approximately 330,000 people pass through Times Square daily, and the addition of a casino would only add to that foot traffic.
Other sites still being considered, as NY Online Gambling has reported in recent months, include Hudson Yards, Willets Point near Citi Field ballpark in Queens, and Brooklyn’s Coney Island.
There are expected to be three casino licenses granted by the gaming commission in the region. MGM’s electronic gambling facility in Yonkers just north of New York City and Resorts World’s racino at Aqueduct in Queens are viewed as heavy favorites to land two of the licenses, which would leave just one left to claim.
The possibility of a casino at Times Square is getting mixed reviews on social media:
Casinos in Manhattan and outer boroughs? Times Square, Hudson Yards? First TRAFFIC, second the main problem this city is crime plagued, the thugs can’t wait easy pickings for casino customers coming & going. How long operations 2,3,4,yrs. Away Better clean up the Streets first… pic.twitter.com/qrLiSvWuuT
— sheepsheadbay (@brooklyntofla) July 25, 2022
Not only will a Times Square casino bring in more revenue, the revenue split will be more weighted toward tourists and the opportunity to attract non-gamblers (or light gamblers) will be much higher. It’s also at the nexus of many subway lines, rather than the terminus of one.
— Repositioning Play (@GoodGuyGuaranty) July 25, 2022
A Times Square casino would literally just be a glorified Dave and Busters
— Alex (@alxtweetz) July 24, 2022
Looking more & more likely there will be a singular casino awarded to Manhattan, but to who/where?
Related is angling for Hudson Yards while SL Green/Vornado are targeting Times Square
This battle will inevitably lead to a legendary real estate book – let the games begin
— Conor H. (@c_huss) July 25, 2022
Several casino operators, including Hard Rock, Wynn, and Sands, are interested in erecting these potential casinos in conjunction with major real estate developers.
Willets Point drawbacks
New York Mets owner Steve Cohen, who has spent roughly $99,000 lobbying casino officials for a casino license this year, would love to see a casino across the street from Citi Field on a 61-acre plot of land.
Public transit infrastructure is already in place around the ballpark, but the potential site’s proximity to the Resorts World property at Aqueduct racetrack could be an issue. Citi Field is located just over seven miles from Aqueduct.
The state is expected to sell each casino license for at least $500 million, which means it could collect north of $1.5 billion for the allocation of all three licenses.
A casino sitting board will be established by the gaming commission in early October. At that time, the board will have 90 days to request bids. Tax rates will then be decided based on the competitive bidding process for the licenses.
Gaining approval for a new casino site in the city will be complicated. Bidders will need approval from two-thirds of a six-member community advisory board for the area where a casino is proposed. This board will be comprised of representatives from the borough president, local state senator and assembly member, and City Council member, as well as the governor and mayor.
If the proposed site is on privately owned property, it will also be subject to the city’s land-use review process that needs to be signed off on by the City Council.