Merit, Ability To Open Quickly Will Earn Caesars Downstate NY Casino License

Written By Grant Lucas on February 24, 2023 - Last Updated on February 27, 2023

Tom Reeg emphasized that his company sees the same documents the public does when it comes to the three downstate New York casino licenses up for grabs. As such, he noted that the state aims to “award something” by the end of 2023.

However, Reeg, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, remains confident that his company sits on the inside track to join the NY casinos landscape.

“We continue to believe that we’ve got the project that will open the quickest,” Reeg said during Caesars’ recent Q4 earnings call. “We’ll start paying New York, the taxes, the quickest. It’s in an area that doesn’t need zoning approval.”

‘Tourist-focused’ location a boon for Caesars NY

One of the first gambling companies to begin laying out plans for a New York City-area casino, Caesars partnered with developer SL Green as well as entertainment agency Roc Nation to open Caesars Palace Times Square.

The “unbelievable location,” as Reeg called it, sets up as a potential “home run,” he told PlayNY last year. And Reeg reiterated the reasons why during the earnings call. But he also noted that Caesars will not enter into a massive bidding war.

“Obviously, is already tourist-focused,” Reeg said, “but I can assure you, we are not going to be the one that wins because we built the biggest housing development outside of our casino. We’re going to win this on the merits of the property and how quickly we can get open and how well it fits into the local environment.

“If it becomes an arm’s race of who is going to spend the most money, we won’t win.”

Caesars NY casino to revitalize Times Square area

As the collective group has indicated, Caesars Palace Times Square expects to general “billions in tax revenue” to the state of New York while also accelerating the region’s economic recovery.

Boasting over seven million visits each year, more than $166 million in retail spending and over $65 million in annual Broadway ticket sales, the project will exist as a “world-class destination,” as Reeg said in a press release, “specifically designed to complement and elevate today’s Times Square experience, ensuring it remains a magnet for visitors and a hub of creativity for years to come.”

In addition, as announced by Caesars and SL Green, the group formed a new Caesars Rewards partnership for local merchants. As a result, rewards members can use their Reward Credits by converting them into gift cards that are valid at participating hotels, restaurants, retailers and comedy clubs and other entertainment venues, among others.

Waiting game continues for downstate NY casinos

Caesars remains confident it will become part of the New York casinos landscape. Only three licenses exist, although two are believed to be going to existing video lottery terminals Resorts World NYC and Empire City Casino.

A number of other interested parties have formed partnerships or come forward with casino plans throughout the NYC area.

But the state is in no rush to award those three licenses. Interested entities submitted questions regarding the request for applications earlier this month. We still await answers from the Gaming Facility Location Board. After that, applicants will submit another set of questions due 30 days after the initial answers emerge.

A number of steps remain before the GFLB makes its recommendations for licensing. So it should come as no surprise, as Reeg indicated, that this process will take the bulk of the calendar year.

Photo by Courtesy of SL Green Realty Group
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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is the managing editor for PlayNY. A longtime, award-winning sports writer, Grant has covered gambling and legal sports betting since 2018, when he got his start reporting on the New Jersey and Pennsylvania industries. He now oversees PlayNY as New York expands legalized gambling to sports betting and online casino gaming.

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