Developers all-in on Manhattan casino push

Hudson Yards, Times Square among sites being eyed

Hudson Yards, Related Companies' Stephen Ross, Vornado’s Steven Roth and SL Green’s Marc Holliday (Getty, Related, Vornado, SL Green)
Hudson Yards, Related Companies' Stephen Ross, Vornado’s Steven Roth and SL Green’s Marc Holliday (Getty, Related, Vornado, SL Green)

Developers are putting their cards on the table in an effort to win the right to build a casino in New York City.

A handful of developers and gaming operators are mobilizing to bid for a license to operate in the city, the New York Post reported. The state’s gaming commission can award up to three licenses downstate and Mayor Eric Adams has expressed a desire for at least two to be in the city.

In Manhattan, Related Companies is eyeing a venue near its Hudson Yards megadevelopment on the Far West Side. Representatives from the company have already met with City Hall officials to discuss a proposal for the area.

Vornado and SL Green are also targeting Manhattan — specifically, Times Square. All three of those developers are looking to partner with casino companies, including Hard Rock, Sands and Wynn.

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Interest in a casino stretches beyond the island. Hard Rock has been in discussions about partnering with New York Mets owner Steve Cohen for a Queens casino at Willets Point. Lobbying efforts for a casino next to Citi Field have previously been reported.

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John Catsimatidis, whose developments include a Coney Island project, is also interested in opening a casino in the seaside neighborhood. He told the post a “casino would be a wonderful thing for Coney Island and Brooklyn.”

While the competition for a new casino is technically for three licenses, it may actually be a fight for only one. Resorts World/Genting at Aqueduct in Queens and the Empire City/MGM at Yonkers plan to apply for a full gaming license after operating for years as slots parlors; their history may give them an edge in the bidding.

Still, it could be an uphill battle to bring a casino to anywhere in the city. Significant political and community approvals would be needed, a possibility some politicians are already rallying against.

“I strongly oppose a Manhattan casino in concept,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman told the Post. “I don’t know one constituent who wants a casino.”

But the state does. New York could score at least $500 million for each license. The next big step in the process is the formation of a siting board by Oct. 4, which will then lead to a request for bids.

— Holden Walter-Warner