Broadway’s Largest Theater Owner Opposes NY Casino In Times Square

Written By Matt Boecker on December 15, 2022
Shubert Organization Broadway Times Square NY Casino Downstate

A Times Square casino appears to be a longshot after opposition from a major player in the theater district.

In October, Caesars Entertainment and SL Green, a real estate investment trust, partnered to release a proposal for a Manhattan-based casino in Times Square.

But the Shubert Organization, Broadway’s largest theater owner, has announced they’re against a New York casino moving into the theater district.

Shubert: Protect Times Square from NY casino

Shubert isn’t the first group to speak out against Caesars and SL Green’s proposal. The Broadway League, a 700-member-plus group consisting of theater owners, operators, producers and general managers, called it “detrimental” to the city.

This doesn’t bode well for the casino proposal. After all, the Broadway League is the most influential group in the theater industry. And Shubert is the biggest theater owner.

Shubert real estate VP Julio Peterson recently appeared on a podcast hosted by CRBE senior economic advisor Spencer Levy. On the show, Peterson said he’s not against a casino coming to New York City. But he does oppose one coming to Times Square.

“I think we have to protect (Times Square) and not get lost in sort of the immediate gratification . . . and not think of long-term solutions and sustainability for Broadway.”

Peterson also told Levy that he believes a casino in Times Square would cause a disruption to theatergoers. And it would be a net negative for the area.

Not everyone gives thumbs down to Times Square casino

While Shubert and the Broadway League are massive voices in the theater district, there has been some support for Caesars and SL Green’s proposal.

Some of the more influential supporters include Actors Equity, the labor union representing theater actors and stage managers. Former police commissioner Bill Bratton, who SL Green tasked with creating a safety plan for the proposal, said a Times Square casino could work.

Theater district restaurant owners have backed the proposal, too. They likely see the uptick in customers a Times Squares casino would bring their businesses.

Downstate casino bids are heating up

Caesars isn’t the only gaming operator in the running for a downstate casino license. While the April budget approved for three more downstate licenses, it appears only one is actually there for the taking.

Both Resorts World NYC and Empire City Casino appear destined to receive licensing so they can upgrade to full-scale casinos.

As for the remaining license, Wynn Resorts and Related Companies proposed a casino in Hudson Yards. Sources also told PlayNY that real estate development and management firm Thor Equities plans to submit a bid for a Coney Island casino.

Bally’s, Hard Rock, Las Vegas Sands, Genting Group and Rush Street Gaming have also shown interest in opening casino resorts in New York City.

However, any casino proposal in the city will likely face an abundance of backlash from the community. Operators first have to work with community advisory committees to ensure they follow proper zoning processes in proposals.

Then, Gaming Facility Location Board must approve the gaming license application. No matter which gaming operator the GFLB chooses, that operator will surely confront a long and rocky road before a new casino opens its doors.

Photo by AP / John Minchillo / PlayNY
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Matt Boecker

Born in Oak Lawn, Illinois, Matt graduated from Northern Illinois University, where he covered NIU hockey for the Northern Star. Since then, Matt has specialized in NFL and NBA coverage for various websites and podcasts before shifting gears to casino and sports betting coverage.

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