Real estate and gaming giants eye new casino in Times Square

Times Square, the Crossroads of the World, might soon become the Crossroads of Craps.

Two giants in real estate and gaming, SL Green and Caesars Entertainment, have announced a joint bid for a coveted once-in-a-lifetime license to build a casino in the nexus of New York City.

If selected, their proposed gaming hall atop SL Green’s skyscraper at 1515 Broadway would be the only casino in Manhattan. The bid was first reported Wednesday by the New York Times.

“Caesars is thrilled to partner with SL Green in connection with a five-star project that will meet and exceed New Yorkers’ expectations for world-class entertainment, immediately enhancing New York City’s tourism engine and elevating this one-of-a-kind global destination to new heights,” said Caesars CEO Tom Reeg in a statement.

Beyond a casino, Caesars’ Times Square plans include a hotel, restaurants, and a Broadway theater to host “The Lion King.” 

The bid’s success is anything but guaranteed. Since state officials authorized three new casino licenses for the New York City area earlier this year, real estate and casino honchos have gone into overdrive in the hopes of landing the crown jewel of untapped markets for the gaming industry.

Only one casino currently operates in the Five boroughs: Genting Group’s Resorts World New York City Casino at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. Just outside the city, meanwhile, lies MGM’s Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway.

Both are located at horse racing tracks and feature video slot machines but no live table games. Resorts World and Empire City are now seeking licenses to convert their existing facilities into full-fledged casinos with dealer-mediated table games.

The Related Companies and Wynn Resorts recently bid to erect a casino at Related’s Hudson Yards on the west side of Manhattan. Meanwhile, Mets owner Steve Cohen is reportedly in talks with Hard Rock and Las Vegas Sands for a potential casino near Citi Field. Billionaire grocery store mogul John Catsimatidis and developer Thor Equities are also reportedly interested in developing a casino in Coney Island.

The investors looking to get into legal gambling in the Big Apple have spent lavishly on political contributions and lobbying as the competition heats up, Gothamist reported.

Successful bidders will have to fork over $500 million to the state in licensing fees. In addition to that massive infusion of revenue, state officials tout the tax revenue that will come from a casino, in addition to jobs and tourism it would supposedly attract.