A Las Vegas-based gambling operator is partnering with SL Green Realty Corporation to bid for a casino in Times Square. Caesars Entertainment and the real estate giant intend to build a premium gaming and entertainment hub at 1515 Broadway.
The two partners believe building a casino at Time Square would generate billions in tax revenue for New York State. They also believe that the casino would help recover the state's economy. However, two organizations representing Broadway theaters have different opinions about developing a casino in the district.
The Broadway League's Opinion
They mainly question whether bringing a casino into the district will improve its economy or make it unsafe, like in the 1970s. The Broadway League is particularly not a fan of developing a casino in the district. The organization is a trade association for New York producers and theaters.
The Broadway League released a statement through Playbill, disagreeing with putting a casino in Times Square. The association believes having a casino in the area would congest it, especially because it is already densely populated.
According to the statement, having a casino would jeopardize the neighborhood that depends on the success of Broadway. The statement also noted that Broadway was key to driving tourism to the district, and bringing a casino would be unfavorable.
Formerly known as the League of New York Theaters, the Broadway League comprises producers, presenters, theater owners and operators, and managers in New York and 250 other cities in North America. The association made its debut in 1930.
The state senator Brad Hoylman told the New York Times that not having the Broadway League on board was detrimental. He explained that the association has influence and clout. The organization also knows what drama lovers want and the district's future.
The Actors' Equity Association's Opinion
The Actors` Equity Association is another theatrical organization with a different opinion from the Broadway League. It is a labor union representing people working in live theatrical performances. It applauded having a casino in Times Square.
The association believes having a casino would make the neighborhood safer for arts workers, members, and the audience. The Actors` Equity Association referred to the proposed casino as a game changer that will boost security in the neighborhood. According to the association, having a casino in Time Square will increase security staff, cameras, and sanitation equipment.
Meanwhile, there are speculations that the Broadway League opposes the casino project as it might take the top position as the prime tourist attraction in Times Square. Conversely, the Actors` Equity supports the casino project as it might maximize job opportunities.
The Coronavirus pandemic affected Broadway. Fewer shows are running than before 2020. Those that are still running are grossing less income.
Some are scheduled to close. For example, The Phantom of the Opera, the longest-running show, will close in February 2023. The show ran for 35 years.
The Caesars Entertainment projected casino will replace the Minskoff Theater that hosts Disney's The Lion King. However, the casino will have restaurants, a hotel, and a theater that will continue hosting Broadway's musicals.
The Hudson Yards complex might not continue hosting movie nights when Wynn Resorts wins a casino proposal. The gambling operator and Related Companies are partnering to build a casino at Hudson Yards when they win a license.