A Casino Can Revive Downtown San Francisco’s Economy

Downtown San Francisco has been facing several social and economic challenges like drug abuse, departing traders, and increasing homelessness for a long period. But, the Salesforce Transit Center (STC) is confident that a new casino will revive the city.

Stanford Horn, a Cushman Wakefield and Coldwell Bank Commercial Real Estate Services real estate executive, has the same opinion. He stated so in a recent The San Francisco Business Times publication.

The executive has worked in the real estate industry for over 25 years and proposes a San Francisco casino to be built at the vacant train station. Horn stated that the city has an advanced 4.5 football field-long asset that can work throughout the year, attracting thousands of workers and clients from all over the country.

Its construction ended in 2018, and it constitutes the $2.5 billion STC. But the train level shell has been dormant since then and will remain empty up to 2031 until a tunnel for trains gets completed. Horn added that most of the property's construction work is over, so interested investors won't have many upfront costs.

More Details About the Gaming Proposal

San Francisco is among the country's largest cities, and a casino hotel will greatly boost it. Cities like Chicago and New York are expanding their gaming industries to increase state and local tax revenues. Besides, casino operators are reviving certain regions as they create many job opportunities.

Even so, tribal casino operators largely influence the Golden State's gaming sector. Besides, they actively take part in its politics and are likely to oppose a private casino from venturing into the local market.

The asset which Horn narrated doesn't sit on tribal land. So, Native Indian tribes lack the mandate to develop a casino on that site.

Gaming analysts are uncertain about the casino idea's success. But, they state that in case it advances now, one of the local tribes can own it and contract a Nevada- based gaming operator to manage it. This tactic has worked several times in the past in California.

Still, setting up a casino in downtown San Francisco cannot solely solve the homelessness problem. The city has about 7,800 homeless people, thus increasing the population's reduction rate, drug use, and defecation. The U.S. Census Bureau indicates that the city had a 7.5 percent population attrition between 2020 and 2022.

The city's tourism sector hasn't fully recovered from the Coronavirus pandemic's adverse effects. The San Francisco Travel Association disclosed that the city attracted 26.2 million tourists in 2019. But it will only attract 23.9 million visitors in 2023.

Downtown Casinos Often Excel

Horns said in the op-ed that Montreal, Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, Vancouver, and Philadelphia have downtown casinos. Yet, some experts claim that such gaming venues aren't a perfect move to revive cities' economies.

Even so, San Francisco doesn't have a promising gaming history, as Alcatraz Prison's casino shut down three decades ago.


A sports enthusiast, Ryan helps cover sports betting news from around the country, highlighting some of the more interesting events going on in the USA.