Prominent businesses in New York City have come out in favor of Caesars Entertainment’s proposed casino in Times Square.
A Coalition for a Better Times Square (CBTS), a group of more than 20 restaurants, other businesses and labor unions, released a statement in favor of Caesars’ bid for one of the three available downstate casino licenses, predicting nearly $1 billion in economic benefits to the area.
“A successful bid will generate $967 million in annual area spending, providing a much-needed boost to area theaters, hotels, restaurants, and businesses, and commit to fund a wide range of neighborhood initiatives and improvements to make Times Square the safest, cleanest, and most pedestrian-friendly entertainment district in the world,” the coalition said in the statement.
The CBTS statement outlined areas in which the casino would provide a boost to the local economy:
- Retail spending would jump by more than $160 million
- Broadway ticket sales would increase by $65 million
- Broadway shows would welcome more than half a million new visitors
- Times Square would get 7 million more visitors
- Local hotels would see more than 600,000 new visitors each year
“Bringing almost half a million new theatergoers into our theaters, a commitment to union jobs, and unprecedented investments in safety and traffic flow will be beneficial for Broadway and its workers,” said David Levy, communications director at the Actors’ Equity Association, according to PlayUSA.com.
Some Broadway theater owners may disagree. In late November, The Broadway League, which represents 700 members in the Broadway theater industry, released a statement in opposition to the casino, saying it would draw potential theatergoers to the gaming floor and cost them money.
The CBTS contends the opposite effect of bringing more people into the district, predicting a boost in ticket sales.
New York’s Gaming Facility Location Board is set to vote on casino bids for the three downstate licenses on January 6. For New York City, Caesars is in competition with Bally’s, MGM Resorts, Genting, Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts.