Will NYC become the next Sin City? It’s a possibility, if lawmakers in Albany decide to roll the dice.
Gov. Kathy Hochul and state legislators may place their bets on a deal to fast-track gaming licenses for three full-fledged downstate casinos as part of New York’s budget — and Mayor Eric Adams wants New York City to get at least two of the three licenses.
Among the proposed gambling sites that could be coming to Manhattan are a casino near the Water Club along the East River in Kips Bay; a Monaco-style casino on top of Saks Fifth Avenue in midtown; and a Hard Rock Casino in the crossroads of the world, Times Square.
Saks Fifth Avenue had no comment on the proposed casino.
As first reported by the New York Times, the licenses could bring table games like black jack and roulette to the city. Two strong contenders include the so-called local “racinos” that currently feature electronic games: Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct in Queens, and Empire City Casino in Yonkers.
But a third license could be up for grabs, and multiple casino companies are actively lobbying for a spot in Manhattan or one near Citi Field in Queens.
“I think a casino in Manhattan would have a serious degrading effect on the atmosphere of the area around the casino,” said Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who represents part of Manhattan.
He’s not alone in thinking so, as other city residents — especially those who live near the proposed areas — were not so quick to offer their support.
“People around casinos tend to be drunk. Think it would bring weird culture to the area,” said Kips Bay resident Lari Fondeur.
Who is pushing hard for the city casino, however, is the Hotel and Gaming Trades Council — whose union membership is still reeling from massive pandemic layoffs.
“The acceleration of gaming licenses downstate could, in a very short period of time, create 4,000 to 5,000 new jobs and add to state revenue,” said Rich Maroko, Hotel & Gaming Trades Council president.
The picture of what may happen will likely be clearer when the state budget comes together by the end of the week.