Rumors of a New Casino District in Manhattan

In February, news surfaced that Andrew M. Cuomo, New York’s Governor, is looking for ways to fill a $15 billion budget shortfall. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Big Apple is not the city it was a year ago. Pandemic-induced lockdowns have emptied office buildings, shut down restaurants, and darkened Broadway. The city that never sleeps is now looking drowsier than ever.

Given that laxer gambling legislation is one of the simplest ways to generate tax revenues, rumors quickly began flying that the New York market may soon accept a new gambling operator. Casinos are well-established moneymakers, but this past year was the industry’s worst one in decades. However, experts predict that the sector should get back on track to pre-pandemic revenue levels by 2023. Thus, gambling operators are more than interested in jockeying for a position to attain approval to run a gaming venue in the New York City area.

It is a public secret that the Las Vegas Sands, Bally’s Corporation, and Wynn Resorts are the three contenders fighting over one of the three available 2021 licenses. Two are more-or-less reserved for the MGM Resorts-owned Empire City Casino in Yonkers and the Resorts World Aqueduct racino in Queens. Both of which have already gotten the go-ahead to run slot machines. So, that leaves one license for these gambling juggernauts to compete over regarding who brings table action to NYC or the neighboring Nassau County. Though, there have always been online casinos to play via offshore operators. Thus, residents have had that ability for years.

Times Square

New York’s Time Square is likely the world’s most famous intersection, stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Street. It sometimes gets referred to as the Center of the Universe. According to estimates, around 330,000 people pass through it each day. On super-busy ones, this number goes above 450,000. Thus, it is no surprise that gambling companies would be drooling over the thought of having a piece of Time Square real-estate for a gaming property bearing their name.

Currently, privately-owned developer L&L Holding is heavily pushing for a potential Manhattan casino to find its way inside their development project on 1568 Broadway named TSX Broadway. It is a 46-story, 470-foot-tall multi-purpose tower with a price tag of $2.5 billion and a 2024 completion date. L&L Holdings has partnered with Maefield Development and the Fortress Investment Group on this venture, which also entailed the partial demolition of the former DoubleTree Hilton in Times Square. Projection state that the tower should yield 550,000 square feet, which will feature Times Square’s only permanent outdoor stage.

Industry insiders state that L&L Holdings started its exploration of a casino endeavor last year and has since spoken with several operators, including the Las Vegas Sands. The Sands have also bandied about the possibility of opening a property close by the Resorts World casino. Another speculation is that Vegas companies are exploring the possibility of converting pre-existing conference/convention centers into gaming floors, like that of the New York Hilton Midtown, which rivals most Las Vegas casino floors in size. It is a legendary 47-floor building near Times Square north of Rockefeller Center at 53rd Street and Sixth Avenue.    

Herald Square

Herald Square is likely the second-most-popular intersection in Manhattan. It forms on the spot where Sixth Avenue, Broadway, and 34th Street cross and gets its name from the now-defunct newspaper, the New York Herald, which had its headquarters nearby. The area has a storied past in retailing and remains a must-see destination for foreign and domestic tourists. Its pavements are home to brand stores like Victoria’s Secret, H&M, Macy’s, Old Navy, Foot Locker, Target, and many more. Estimates claim that Herald Square draws about two million visitors each year, and it greatly benefits from its proximity to Madison Square Garden and Penn Station.

Per multiple reports, Maryland real-estate investment trust Vornado Realty has its sights on this area. The New York Times claims that JEMB Realty Corporation is also looking to use its Herald Towers as the site for a New York City gambling venue. JEMB Realty Corporation’s chairman Morris Baily already owns Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino Hotel. He is now looking to take advantage of this newly acquired situation to fit a casino inside the former McAlpin Hotel (now Herald Towers). The McAlpin Hotel opened its doors in 1912 and is a 25-story brown brick building designed with beaux-arts elements at its top and base. At the time of its launch, it was the largest hotel in existence. Today, it is an apartment building.

About the Author

Shelly Schiff has been working in the gambling industry since 2009, mainly on the digital side of things, employed by OnlineUnitedStatesCasinos.com. However, over her eleven-year career, Shelly has provided content for many other top interactive gaming websites. She knows all there is to know about slots and has in-depth knowledge of the most popular table games. Her golden retriever Garry occupies most of her leisure time. Though, when she can, she loves reading Jim Thompson-like crime novels.