Posted on: January 6, 2023, 06:45h.
Last updated on: January 6, 2023, 07:05h.
Amid a spate of looming show closures, the “Coalition For a Better Times Square” is throwing its support behind a controversial casino project in the New York theater district.
In a statement released today, the coalition noted 16 shows affecting 39% of theaters in the area are slated to end their runs over the next two months. That, argues the coalition, is a sign Times Square still hasn’t bounced all the way back from coronavirus pandemic shutdowns.
Last October, Caesars Entertainment announced it is partnering with SL Green Realty on a redevelopment effort at 1515 Broadway in Times Square – a plan that includes bidding for one of three downstate casino permits. The “Coalition For a Better Times” believes the venue could be a boon for the ailing New York theater scene.
Fortunately, there is an opportunity to bring a new influx of visitors to the theater district and ensure that Times Square remains the greatest entertainment destination for New York City: Caesars Palace Times Square. The current proposal by SL Green, Caesars Entertainment, and Roc Nation, and supported by this coalition, would generate an estimated 412,000 new Broadway ticket sales annually and bring more than $65 million in new revenue for the Broadway industry,” according to the group.
The coalition added that just this weekend, four Broadway shows (1776, Into the Woods, Almost Famous and Beetlejuice) are closing — a sign that Times Square still has work to do to rebound from the pandemic.
Times Square Casino Has Detractors, Supporters
As is the case with most new casino proposals, some favor the idea of bringing a new gaming venue to Times Square, while others oppose it.
Last November, the Shubert Organization, the largest theater owner on Broadway, joined the Broadway League in saying it doesn’t want a casino in Times Square. Shubert real estate VP Julio Peterson said the gaming venue would be “disruptive to theatergoers,” but added the group isn’t opposed to a Manhattan casino as long as it’s not in the theater area.
Earlier this week, Sardi’s owner Max Klimavicius said he’s opposed to a Times Square casino, too. However, some locals believe the Broadway League has a history of opposing anything new in the neighborhood, and that the Caesars/SL Green plan would be good for business.
For its part, Nevada-based Caesars touts its and SL Green’s track records of working with organized labor. It’s also been noted the gaming company has more than 65 million members in its loyalty program, which could result in more visits to a New York casino, and thus more traffic to restaurants and theaters.
Coalition Sees Opportunity with Casino
Earlier this week, New York opened the request for applications (RFA) process for operators seeking a downstate permit. It will be some time before decisions are made, though it’s widely expected two of three licenses will be awarded to MGM Resorts’ Empire City in Yonkers and Resorts World New York City (RWNY) in Queens.
In the interim, the Coalition For a Better Broadway is steadfast in its support of the Times Square casino plan.
“The coalition supports Caesars Palace Times Square because it is being designed specifically to support Broadway and the entire Times Square community, bringing an influx of tourists and New Yorkers to the area’s hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues,” concluded the group.