Rapper Jay-Z Joins SL Green & Caesar’s Entertainment in NYC Casino Bid - The Jewish Voice
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Friday, March 31, 2023

Rapper Jay-Z Joins SL Green & Caesar’s Entertainment in NYC Casino Bid

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By:  Hellen Zaboulani


Times Square’s bid for a casino just got a hip new partner.

As reported by the NY Post, SL Green and Caesar’s Entertainment got a third partner in their application to build a casino in the Big Apple.  Brooklyn-born billionaire rapper and entertainment promoter Jay-Z and his entertainment agency Roc Nation will be joining in their bid to open a casino in Times Square.  The bid offers to convert the iconic 54-story office tower at 1515 Broadway, which is owned by NYC Real estate giant SL Green, into a casino, restaurants and hotel.  As per Reality Check, the three-way partnership was an unexpected twist first announced on Monday at SL Green’s annual investor conference.

Last year, law makers approved three full-service casinos for New York City.  Two of the licenses are expected to go to expanding into gaming tables at the two existing racetracks with slot machines— in Yonkers and at Aqueduct in Queens. The state is fielding applications for the third approved casino in the Big Apple.  Half a dozen other developers are also expected to team up with gaming companies so they can merge their expertise to submit proposals for the first full-scale casino in the NYC.  Other bidders include Related Companies with Wynn Resorts who are making a bid for Hudson Yards, Mets owner Steve Cohen and a casino partner with a bid offering a casino in Citi Field in Queens, Thor Equities’ bid for Coney Island, and Soloviev Building Company with a gaming partner for a “Freedom Plaza” casino on First Avenue in the East 30s.

Jay –Z, the 53-year-old record producer and entrepreneur has an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion.  In 2008, he founded Roc Nation—a full-service entertainment company, with artist and athlete management, label, publishing, touring, film /TV and new ventures.  His company is slated to oversee the entertainment programming at the proposed Midtown casino.  In a statement, Jay-Z said, “New York is the epicenter of culture. We have the opportunity to create a destination at the heart of the true crossroads of the word. My partnership with SL Green and Caesars has all the promise and commitment to economic opportunity, growth and enrichment for the community and everyone that visits the Empire State.”

SLG CEO Marc Holliday also disclosed new information about their casino proposal.  As reported by the NY Post, Caesars Palace Times Square, as it would be named, would only use eight floors at the 54-story tower for the actual casino. The building’s ground floor would be earmarked for non-gaming uses– including an entrance to the Minskoff Theater.  “We are putting theater at ground level,” Holliday said.  He emphasized that the casino itself would be “boutique”-size –occupying only about 250,000 square feet of space, which is substantially less than the typical gaming floors in Atlantic City or Las Vegas.  The casino floors would also have restaurants and entertainment.

The bid would include adding an roughly 800-room, five-star hotel in the top floors of the building.  Holiday tried to convey that he doesn’t plan to pose a threat to the theatre district, but rather aims to bolster surrounding businesses.  As part of a “halo effect,” Holliday told the Post, he expects his team’s casino will lure seven million more visitors yearly to the Times Square area, add about seven million restaurant visits to the neighborhood, and generate roughly $166 million in retail purchases outside the casino building.



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