Broadway Trade Association Opposes Times Square Casino Bid

Written By Derek Helling on November 30, 2022
caesars times square casino theater impact

Support of local communities and stakeholders will play a significant role in determining the sites of three downstate New York casinos. One such proposal is suggesting a new Times Square casino.

One prominent interest group would rather such a facility never materialize. This interest group is The Broadway League, which is a trade association for the commercial theatre industry.

The group has begun a campaign to organize its membership in opposition to a proposal by Caesars. If that organization proves effective, it could be good news for competing bids.

Times Square casino proposal encounters antagonist

According to Chloe Rabinowitz of Broadway World, The Broadway League recently sent a letter to its members explaining its opposition to a casino in Times Square. To be clear, that opposition has nothing to do with who is involved in the project or any specific aspects of Caesars’ proposal.

Rather, the League opposes the entire concept on economic grounds. More succinctly, there are concerns that Times Square
casino would cannibalize existing businesses. Specifically the business of the theaters in the area.

“We’ve looked closely at the facts and the research and believe a casino in Times Square would bring economic and social disruption, not development, to the deeply interconnected network of businesses that have made Broadway and Times Square an international destination.”

“Whether they come for a day or a week, visitors to Times Square come on limited budgets that would be cannibalized by casino gambling. Every dollar spent at the craps table, roulette wheel or slot machine is a dollar not spent on a play, dinner, or a souvenir. This is cause for alarm.”

To what degree Caesars might subdue these concerns in order to win its casino bid remains to be seen. That will largely depend on how vocal and widespread this opposition proves to be.

Could opposition be good for competing New York casino bids?

A three-person panel that will decide which applications get casino licenses in New York should have plenty of bids to consider when it releases its request for applications. So far, multiple entities have confirmed their intent to apply for a license.

Under state law, the support or lack thereof from communities affected by these bids is part of the regulators’ consideration.

Thus, the opposition of The Broadway League to this particular proposal could carry some weight. That could be especially significant if other similar bids have broad support from their local communities.

Coalitions of local organizations, like that which Thor Equities has been building for its Coney Island casino proposal, could be more effective at swaying regulators. Recently, Thor Equities added Legends Hospitality to its group. The New York Yankees are a co-owner of that company.

Should Caesars fail to build a similarly impressive coalition, its bid might look weak. There is still time to rally some community support. However, it looks like Broadway theatres will not be signing on to Caesars’ project anytime soon.

There is a possible silver lining here, though, if The Broadway League’s opposition blossoms into actual protests. Those protests could feature some amazing choreography and lyrics.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of Playin USA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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