New York City may be a couple of years away from the opening of “Caesars Palace Times Square.” That’s a big “may,” because state gaming authorities haven’t even started the process required to decide which operators they will let buy three downstate retail casino licenses.
Yet Caesars Entertainment and office landlord SL Green Realty Corporation announced their project partnership today. They’re teaming up to redevelop 1515 Broadway into what they’re calling Caesars Palace Times Square.
The property, also known as One Astor Plaza, is home to Disney musical The Lion King. The show that debuted in 1997 at the Minskoff Theatre would be the flagship entertainment at the proposed casino.
Today’s announcement acknowledges tourists will likely be the proposed casino’s core patrons. However, Caesars and SL Green try to appeal to New Yorkers.
The press release says:
In addition to major economic benefits to all Times Square stakeholders, SL Green and Caesars are proposing significant security and traffic improvements as part of their proposal, which would boost Mayor Adams and the NYPD’s efforts in Times Square. These efforts will make visitors feel safer, improve mass transit, encourage pedestrian travel, and mitigate vehicle congestion in the area, pursuant to a proposed traffic plan to be included as part of the project.
Caesars and SL Green declined to comment on any of NY Sports Day‘s many questions about this proposal.
‘Caesars Palace Times Square’ Among Many Casino License Hopefuls
On Jan. 6, the New York Gaming Facility Location Board (NYGFLB) will issue a request for applications (RFA). That’s only the beginning of a months-long process of awarding three full downstate retail casino licenses to selected applicants.
The Caesars Palace Times Square hopefuls are among many already interested in buying those licenses. That means each license may even end up costing more than the NYGFLB’s current guideline of $500 million.
Caesars Isn’t a Native New Yorker
Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment does have an online presence in New York, in the form of Caesars Sportsbook. Sports betting launched on Jan. 8. (New York online casino isn’t yet legal.)
Its Caesars Palace Times Square project partner, SL Green, is headquartered in New York.
However, Caesars’ nearest land-based casinos are in Atlantic City and Philadelphia.
That’s one of the reasons Kevin Jones, the chief strategy and legal officer at Resorts World Casino and Genting Americas, recently opined that his company’s Queens gambling facility, Resorts World New York, will likely receive one of the full licenses.
NY Sports Day attended the East Coast Gaming Congress and NexGen Gaming Forum (ECGC) in Atlantic City. where Jones made the statement on Sept. 22. He added that Empire City Casino in Yonkers, an MGM Resorts International property, may also get one of the three licenses.
Gaming officials haven’t made any decisions yet, emphasized Brian O’Dwyer, chairman of the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC). He made that statement on Oct. 3, when the commission appointed the siting board members.
Caesars’ Proposed Times Square Casino Has a Huge Namesake
Caesars Palace Times Square would be in select company, as far as Caesars’ namesakes go.
Forbes dubs Caesars Palace, the casino that opened on the Las Vegas Strip in 1966, “a small city.”
Caesars Palace Dubai is located by a private beach, and has “five outdoor chilled pools, 12 restaurants and bars, two beach clubs, an award-winning Qua Spa, and kids recreation.”
So the self-described “largest North American gaming operator” is used to huge projects, but this may be one of its biggest. Redeveloping the 54-story office tower on Broadway between 44th and 45th Streets will involve “significant investments in security, traffic, and mass transit improvements,” reads the announcement.
Caesars may be attempting to show the board and commission that it can handle a New York-sized project before members consider all of the applications. As if proving that theory, today’s announcement includes many local endorsements.
To that end, the press release quotes Actors’ Equity; Alicart Restaurant Group, which operates Carmine’s and Virgil’s BBQ; Laborers’ Local 79; Wyndham Hotels and Resorts; and former New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton.