Casino News

Times Square Casino Project Faces Crime Image Challenges

Caesars Entertainment, SL Green, and Roc Nation have joined forces to submit a lucrative proposal for a commercial casino at Times Square in New York City. However, if it comes to fruition by landing a downstate license, the gaming and hospitality resort could be affected by some of the locals’ perceptions of criminal activity in the area.

The Empire State has three available downstate casino licenses up for grabs, which will be soon awarded to three winners. But for a proposal to be contention to be selected, it must be approved by the state, while also having community support in the area it wishes to operate. Also, the candidates must be willing to invest US$500M and pay US$500M for the license.

New Yorkers Visit Times Square Less

A survey by Situation Group discovered that wealthy people aged 55 and up from the New York suburbs are not willing to visit Times Square to watch Broadway shows due to safety alarms. Half of the survey shared that have not been to the area since 2019, due to safety reasons, while another 41% travel less regularly to Manhattan than they did before the unprecedented situation.

However, recent data suggests that the overall crime in NYC has dropped by 5% in 2023. Still, despite murders and shootings declining in numbers, assaults have spiked by 6% and automobile thefts have gone up by 15%. It was reported that the survey was conducted on approximately 1,700 people who have purchased Broadway tickets across the country.

Meanwhile, the coalition is yet to provide a comment on the recent findings by Situation Group. Still, the gambling consortium is seeking to leverage their proposed location as being potentially appealing to local businesses. However, the Broadway League opposes the casino pitch, and in 2022 the group said that a casino would negatively affect other local businesses in the area.

But that is not all, in 2022, the Shubert Organization, the largest owner of theatres in the area, also declared its disapproval of Caesars Palace Times Square. Still, there are other businesses, including restaurants who have publicly backed the idea of a casino resort. Meanwhile, data shows that tourism levels in the Big Apple are still recovering.

Plenty of Competitors in the Way

It should be mentioned that Caesars Palace Times Square is far from official, as the consortium would need to overcome the dozen other candidates and acquire one of just three available commercial gaming licenses. It is rumoured that two of those are almost nailed on for Resort World New York City and Empire City Casino, which already operate as Class II casinos in NYC.

Another major candidate is Las Vegas Sands which seeks to launch a multi-billion-dollar casino resort in Nassau County on Long Island. In a recent earnings call, Chairman and CEO of the company, Rob Goldstein stated that the company is still confident in its proposal and sees its project for Nassau Coliseum as an extraordinary opportunity.