Hard Rock Eyeing Three New York City Sites For Possible Casino

Written By Derek Helling on February 25, 2022
Possible Hard Rock Casinos In New York Inclduing Long Island

The bidding process to win a license to put a new casino in The Big Apple looks like it will take a bite out of another company’s resources. The future could now include a potential Hard Rock NYC casino.

According to the company’s chairman, Hard Rock is looking at three different sites right now as it formulates its bid for a New York casino license. Details are scant about exactly where that might be, but firm about one place where it won’t come to life.

A future Hard Rock NYC casino becomes more real

Last week, Hard Rock Chairman Jim Allen told the Associated Press about the trio of potential sites. While he wouldn’t reveal any details about where those sites are, he did rule out adding gaming at the soon-opening Hard Rock Hotel on 48th St.

That also provides a clue into where Hard Rock might put a casino. Allen said that the hotel’s size is simply too small to allow for gaming on the scale that it wants to provide if it gets a license from the state.

Thus, sites that the company is considering are likely far larger than the hotel. To provide some context, other sites that potential competitors for a license have indicated include plots near Belmont Park in Long Island and close to Citi Field in Queens.

Hard Rock now joins the contingent of gambling companies at least kicking the tires on seeking a license in NY. It joins Bally’s, the Las Vegas Sands Co., and Wynn Resorts, although only the Las Vegas Sands Co. has confirmed that interest.

If it gets a license, Allen said his company would commit $2 billion to develop a casino on its selected site. That would put it in line with reports of similar plans in terms of amenities and scale. For Hard Rock, though, this could turn out to be a lot of planning for nothing.

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Only two paths into New York for Hard Rock

The state has three more casino licenses to award. That might happen this year, but the fate of two of those licenses might already be settled. Empire City in Yonkers and Resorts World New York City in Queens currently operate with Class II licenses. That license allows them to offer slots but no poker, retail sports betting, or table games.

Given their tenure in the state, they seem to be the favorites to each land one of those Class III licenses. That means Hard Rock, the Las Vegas Sands Co, etc., would be vying for just one license. Currently, there’s no information on who, if anyone might have an inside track.

Barring a future expansion of the number of licenses in the state, that would leave Hard Rock with just one option for getting into NY if it misses out on that remaining license. It would probably involve abandoning the sites it is currently surveying as well.

It could follow Churchill Downs‘ example and buy an existing NY casino. That company recently closed a deal to acquire del Lago Casino and Resort in the Finger Lakes. Whether Hard Rock would be interested in a property outside the NYC metro is uncertain, however.

If it misses out on a license, it could instead lick its wounds and move on. What’s certain right now is that if there ultimately is no Hard Rock NYC casino, it won’t be for lack of trying.

Photo by F11photo / Shutterstock.com
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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.

View all posts by Derek Helling