In the pulsating heart of New York City, where neon lights blaze and Broadway’s marquees illuminate the night, an ambitious troika has emerged with a plan that could redefine Times Square’s glittering landscape. Caesar’s Entertainment, real estate titan SL Green, and Jay-Z’s cultural powerhouse Roc Nation are collaborating on a vision to fuse the excitement of a casino resort with the drama of the Great White Way.
Yet, whisperings of concern ripple through the city’s gilded suburbs, where the gentle clink of affluence meets a growing trepidation. Wealthy denizens, predominantly those seasoned in life beyond 55 years, are holding back from Times Square’s allure, their appetites for theatre marred by an uneasy sense of the streets. The Situation Group, a keen-eyed firm of inquiry, uncovered a stark revelation: A full half of suburbanites have abstained from Broadway’s call since the bygone days of 2019. Their culprits? Shadows of safety and security.
Even as the Big Apple has seen the seeds of crime recede by 5 percent in the annual harvest of citywide statistics—with the scourges of murder and gunfire taking a backseat—it’s the uptick in assaults and a 15 percent spike in automobile thefts that have sown seeds of doubt. This survey, a canvas of some 1,700 Broadway ticket patrons spread across the vast American tapestry, sketched a picture of unease that could yet dampen the prospects for a Times Square casino.
The trio behind this gaming palace have yet to raise their voices on these findings. It’s a silence amidst a bid to showcase their proposal as a boon for businesses and the vibrancy of local culture alike. However, the Broadway League, the respected custodian of the theatre industry, stands in firm opposition, fearing that the casino’s siren song would ensnare potential patrons within its gaming halls, with little propensity to venture out and enrich the wider commercial ecosystem.
The Shubert Organization, whose grand theatres form the backbone of Broadway, echoes this sentiment, casting a shadow of dissent toward the prospect of a gaming establishment amidst their storied playhouses. Yet, not all share this view; a band of restaurateurs and other businesses have thrown their weight behind the notion, buoyed by the resilience of tourism and the city’s unyielding lure.
At the heart of this saga lies the coveted prize of three casino permits, a triad of golden tickets that New York’s regulatory powers will bestow later within the year. Rumor whispers that MGM Resorts’ Empire City and Resorts World New York are poised to seize two, leaving the remaining pass in fierce contention—a pass that might just pave the way to Times Square.
Yet, shadows lurk beyond the specter of crime for this potential casino. Changing tides in work habits and the rarefied air of soaring ticket prices could see erstwhile theatre aficionados curtailing their engagement with the arts. Broadway, once the crucible for long-running phenomena like “Phantom of the Opera” and “Wicked,” now grapples with producing such enduring triumphs.
The crux of success for a Times Square casino may hinge on a symbiotic dance with Broadway. Caesars aspires to court favor with local venues through its mammoth loyalty scheme, optimistic in the magnetic pull of theatre to boost their fortunes.
SL Green’s prognostications are bullish, forecasting a tidal wave of over seven million additional meals in surrounding eateries and an injection of $65 million into Broadway’s ticketing veins. The rhapsody of potential is rich, blending chance with culture in the city that never sleeps. The dice are cast, the stage is set—Times Square awaits its next act in the relentless drama of New York City.