Coalition Says Times Square Casino Is Big Win

Written By J.R. Duren on December 19, 2022
construction union times square casino hotels

New York City businesses and organizations are speaking out in support of Caesars Entertainment’s proposed Times Square casino.

A Coalition for a Better Times Square (CBTS), a group of more than 20 restaurants and labor unions, released a statement backing the casino project. The statement argues the casino will improve business in the area to the tune of nearly $1 billion.

“A successful bid will generate $967 million in annual area spending, providing a much-needed boost to area theaters, hotels, restaurants, and businesses, and commit to fund a wide range of neighborhood initiatives and improvements to make Times Square the safest, cleanest, and most pedestrian-friendly entertainment district in the world,” the coalition said.

The casino project comes as the lawmakers opened up three casino licenses for downstate New York. Caesars’ Times Square proposal is arguably the most high-profile. The location is iconic. Additionally, the casino has the backing of Jay Z’s Roc Nation and prominent real-estate firm SL Green Realty.

Coalition members argue Times Square casino benefits to local economy

Everyone from acting associations and hotel groups pitched in quotes for the CBTS’ statement of support for the Manhattan casino.

The CBTS believes the casino would provide a significant boost to the local economy:

  • Retail spending would jump by more than $160 million
  • Broadway ticket sales would increase by $65 million
  • Broadway shows would be more than half a million new visitors
  • Times Square would get seven million more visitors
  • Local hotels would see more than 600,000 new visitors each year

Those benefits would trickle down to theater workers, musicians, public safety, and labor unions.

“Bringing almost half a million new theatergoers into our theaters, a commitment to union jobs, and unprecedented investments in safety and traffic flow will be beneficial for Broadway and its workers,” said David Levy, communications director at the Actors’ Equity Association.

Building the casino would bring an influx of jobs for local construction-focused unions, Mike Prohaska, business manager at Local 79, said.

“A new gaming facility in Times Square would provide hundreds of well-paid, union jobs during both construction and operation,” he said.

Public safety, traffic flow would improve with casino

The CBTS also argued that bringing a casino to Times Square would improve public safety and traffic. That’s a counterintuitive conclusion to a certain extent. How would an additional seven million visitors to a high-traffic area actually improve safety and congestion?

According to the CBTS, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton is partnering with the CBTS and casino stakeholders.

The plan to improve safety and traffic includes:

  • Doubling the number of public safety officers in Times Square
  • Adding 30% more sanitation workers in the area
  • Collaborate with theaters, rideshare drivers, and cabs to relieve congestion by up to 50%

CBTS support conflicts with The Broadway League

Not all local organizations are in favor of the casino. In late November, The Broadway League released a statement in opposition to the casino. The league’s main argument? Dollars spent at the casino are dollars that people won’t spend on Broadway performances, meals, and souvenirs.

At the time, the statement was a notable one. The Broadway League represents more than 700 members in the Broadway theater industry.

However, the vote of support from the CBTS pushes back on the League’s concern. While dollars may be spent in casinos, Broadway should see a significant boost in ticket sales, the coalition argued.

Licensing vote is less than three weeks away

Whether for or against the new casino, all parties involved will get their resolution on Jan. 6. That’s when New York’s Gaming Facility Location Board will vote on casino bids for the state’s three available licenses.

Caesars’ bid is a strong one. It has the cash, credibility, and partners to make the casino reality. However, other big names are reportedly interested in licenses, including Bally’s, MGM Resorts, Resorts World, Sands Corp., and Wynn Resorts.

Photo by PlayUSA
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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