With New York's Budget Holes Growing, A Casino In Manhattan Could Be A Reality
A casino could be coming to a massive mixed-use development in Times Square.
Developer L&L Holding Co. is considering submitting a proposal to build a casino in TSX Broadway, the $2.5B mixed-use project at 1568 Broadway set to be completed by 2024, a source close to the project confirmed to Bisnow. Bloomberg first reported the news last week.
This is the latest in a recent flurry of activity to develop a casino in New York City amid massive state budget holes and a slumping real estate market.
Vornado Realty Trust is discussing proposing a casino in Herald Square, while the owner of an Atlantic City casino, Morris Bailey, has considered building one in the area as well, The New York Times reports.
Meanwhile, New York City mayoral hopeful Andrew Yang, a Democrat who ran for president in 2020, discussed putting a casino on Governors Island, saying it would bring in “so much money it would be bananas,” while on an episode of the popular podcast The Breakfast Club. This idea is far-fetched, given the fact that the deed for the island explicitly bans a casino, Politico reported last week.
The renewed interest in establishing a New York City-based casino comes eight years after New Yorkers across the state voted to allow seven “Las Vegas-style” casinos to be built in 2013.
At that time, four upstate casinos were approved, but the consideration of New York City-area proposals was delayed until 2023 to allow the upstate casinos the chance to flourish first, with the hopes of imbuing parts of the upstate economy with the new revenue stream.
Since then, the four existing casinos have fallen short of expectations, The New York Times reported in 2019. Empire Resorts, which runs one of the casinos, posted a $37M loss in Q2 of 2019 after a $36M Q1 loss.
There are still three outstanding casino permits up for grabs that could go to downstate and New York City proposals. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, lawmakers were considering lifting the pause on downstate proposals.
“When we did casinos, we were very careful because there’s a lot of money floating around and a lot of lobbyists floating around. And we were very careful to go through a process," Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters at Casino.org, a publication focused on the gambling industry, in 2019. "It was primarily for upstate New York."
At that time, companies hoping to establish casinos in Queens and Yonkers were offering the state $500M for each location.
With the coronavirus prompting major budget shortfalls, the drive to increase revenue in any way possible has lowered resistance to New York City casinos, The Times reports.
Cuomo's most recent budget proposal released this month would allow developers to submit plans for casinos downstate. The state’s Gaming Commission found that allowing some existing gambling venues in the New York City area to become casinos could rake in $500M to $800M for the state, The Journal News reported last week.
“If I can raise a billion dollars without raising a penny in taxes, I think that’s a good deal,” state Rep. Gary Pretlow, who represents parts of Westchester, told the Times last week.