Broadway League Reiterates Opposition to Times Square Casino

Posted on: November 29, 2022, 06:03h. 

Last updated on: November 29, 2022, 06:39h.

The Broadway League reiterated its opposition to a Times Square casino proposal, claiming a gaming venue in that area would do more harm than good.

Times Square casino
Times Square in New York City. The Broadway League remains opposed to a casino there. (Image: New York Times)

The League, which is the national trade association for the Broadway industry, let its feelings about the Times Square casino effort be known last month. But in a letter to members today, President Charlotte St. Martin upped the ante, blasting the idea of a casino inside the commercial property at 1515 Broadway.

(Casinos) do all they can to keep visitors in the casino, gambling,” wrote St. Martin.

Caesars Entertainment and SL Green Realty — the companies behind the Times Square casino proposal — predictably see things differently. When they announced their plan last month, the casino giant and the real estate investment trust (REIT) touted the gaming venue as a way to propel New York City’s economic recovery while improving security and alleviating traffic congestion in Times Square.

Manhattan Casino Pitch Faces Uphill Battle

The idea of a Times Square casino stems from New York lawmakers warming to the idea of awarding a third downstate gaming license. The move is an effort to boost government receipts and job creation following the coronavirus pandemic.

The first two permits are likely to be award to MGM’s Empire City Casino in Yonkers and Resorts World in Queens, both of which are currently slots-only properties. There’s plenty of competition for the third license. In addition to the Caesars/SL Green proposal, Wynn Resorts is partnering with REIT Related Companies on a Hudson Yards gaming venue proposal. At the same time, Las Vegas Sands is rumored to be mulling an integrated resort at a notoriously tough-to-develop plot of land near Citi Field in Queens.

However, Manhattan has long been viewed as a longshot to become home to a gaming venue. The same is true of nearby, affluent Westchester County. That leaves less desirable locations such as the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island as potential destinations for a third downstate casino.

For now, Caesars and SL Green haven’t revealed details of the proposed project at 1515 Broadway, but the companies are expected to do so next year. Likewise, 2023 is when a siting committee is expected to render a decision on where a third New York City-area casino could be located.

Times Square Casino Faces Considerable Opposition

The Broadway League isn’t the only theater organization standing up against the Times Square casino plan. Earlier this month, the Shubert Organization, the largest theater owner in the US, said it opposes the Times Square bid.

Shubert real estate VP Julio Peterson said the gaming venue would be “disruptive to theatergoers, and we don’t think it’s the best thing for our district.”

As for the Broadway League, St. Martin opined in her letter that a casino could be alarming to visitors to Times Square, adding that a gaming venue could cannibalize tourists’ “limited budgets.”