There is increasing industry speculation that the massive NY developer SL Green could end up working with Caesars on its Manhattan-Times Square casino proposal, sources told PlayNY.
“I heard Hard Rock is with (Steve) Cohen, Wynn is with (Stephen) Ross, and Caesars is with SL Green,” one source said.
“Yes,” a second source responded when asked if they’d heard of that possible pairing.
“Looks that way,” was how a third source put it.
Reps for Caesars did not respond to multiple requests for comment since Monday afternoon.
New course of action for Caesars
Caesars entering the fray of New York casinos, especially in Manhattan or Time Square, would represent a change in strategy.
In February, Caesars CEO Tom Reeg made it sound like a NY casino bid was a longshot on the company’s earnings call:
“New York, how do I answer this politely — New York is a difficult regulatory state. I think it’s going to be extremely expensive to build there. I think it’s going to be an extremely expensive license fee. And I think there’s a likelihood that you’re going to have to solve some other problem for the city in addition to creating the jobs that you do in building a casino,” Reeg said.
“So it’s not going to be enough to pick a site, build a casino, create the jobs and generate a return. There’s going to have to be other investments there as well. So I would say on our balance sheet it’s extraordinarily unlikely that we make a material investment into New York land-based.”
Hard Rock had been in talks with SL Green about its Time Square project before pivoting to Cohen, the Mets’ billionaire owner, and a potential location at Citi Field-Willets Point.
Wynn is working with Ross, the Miami Dolphins’ owner, and his development company Related on a possible casino at Hudson Yards on the West Side.
All Manhattan casino projects are expected to face significant community and political opposition.
“I can’t answer that because money talks,” Assemb. Gary Pretlow told PlayNY in April. “When I sit here and talk about this now, I would say that the chances are pretty bleak for it.
“But if someone walks up with a $2 billion offer and then the city gets a piece of something, I could see people’s minds changing in a hurry.”
Other casinos in the fold for New York
Las Vegas Sands also had exploratory talks with Cohen while now exploring other options. It’s unclear where the location of Sands’ bid would be.
Developer Joe Sitt’s Thor Equities will also make a Coney Island bid, though it’s unclear what casino partner it will get.
Existing VLTs MGM Empire City and Genting-Resorts World NYC are considered heavy favorites to land two of the three downstate casino licenses in NY.
NOTE: You can play slots and table games at retail casinos in New York, but it is currently illegal to offer real-money casino games online. However, the state is actively working on passing legislation to legalize and regulate online gambling, so the availability of online blackjack and online roulette in NY may change in the future.