Broadway League lines up opposition to Times Square casino
Claim a casino in the area would dampen recovering tourism industry
Updated: April 17, 2023, 5:15 p.m.
It’s a classic clash between a group looking to bring a new, but controversial, business to the area and several locals who want no part of it — only this time both sides have clout and money.
Caesars Entertainment and SL Green Corp. are looking to bring a casino, backed by rapper and business mogul Jay-Z, to Times Square. They’ve got the backing of numerous local supporters — including several unions, a couple of nearby hotel chains, restaurants and landlords — through the formation of “Coalition for a Better Times Square,” the New York Times reported.
On the other side, however, is No Times Square Casino Community Coalition, a well-funded group formed by the Broadway League trade association, which says the casino would harm the area’s local character and keep people, notably tourists, from the area.
Among the NTSCCC’s members is Max Klimivicius, owner of the iconic Saardi’s restaurant, who told the Times the casino would “jeopardize the character of the theater district and ultimately the fate of its restaurants. Casinos are designed to keep the gamblers inside. They have their own restaurants.”
The opposition group also has a couple of eateries owned by Joe Allen, a church, five residents associations, a bus association and a youth travel association.
The group also has the backing of Manhattan Plaza Tenants Association, an independent group that advocates on behalf of the approximately 3,500 residents of Manhattan Plaza.
The Times notes the approval process — including a community advisory committee composed of local elected officials, a supermajority of whom are required for a proposal to move forward — favors opposition groups.
State Sen. Liz Krueger, who is on the committee and represents Times Square, seems to be against the proposal.
“I’m still waiting for one human being who lives in my district who doesn’t work for one of the casino companies bidding or the P.R. companies working for them to tell me that they really, really think that a casino is a great idea,” she told the Times. “I think it’s a terrible idea.”
The state is giving out three downstate casino licenses, which has brought out a veritable who’s who of Big Apple real estate players pursuing a piece of the action. SL Green, Related Companies, the Soloviev Group, Thor Equities and New York Mets owner Steve Cohen are among those in the running. Las Vegas Sands and Saks Fifth Avenue owner Hudson’s Bay Company have also joined the fray.
Two sites, Aqueduct Racetrack and Yonkers Raceway, appeared to have a leg up on the competition, as they already have gambling.
— Ted Glanzer
Correction: A previous version of this post said Related Companies is a part of the anti-casino coalition. It is not.
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