A new group named the “No Times Square Casino” Community Coalition has officially announced its opposition to the construction of a casino in Times Square. The coalition members include professional associations like the Broadway League, neighborhood restaurants such as Sardi’s and more.
“After a decades-long turnaround that revitalized the neighborhood and turned it into a preeminent destination for locals, businesses and tourists, Times Square is one of the most vibrant areas in the country. We don’t want to see that progress jeopardized by a casino,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, in a statement. “We hope to be joined by more members of the community as the casino siting process moves forward.”
In January 2023, applications opened for three licenses to build full-fledged casinos in New York state. Caesar Entertainment expressed interest in opening a facility in Times Square — though they have not yet submitted an official bid.
In addition to the League, the full list of community stakeholders against a Times Square gaming facility includes Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Association, the Hell’s Kitchen Block Association, the West 47th-48th Streets Block Association, the Manhattan Plaza Tenants Association, the Clinton Hell’s Kitchen Chelsea Coalition for Pedestrian Safety, Times Square Church, Encore Community Service, Sardi’s, Joe Allen, Orso and Bar Centrale restaurants, the American Bus Association and the Student & Youth Travel Association.
These stakeholders cite concerns of congestion, pedestrian safety, economic disruption, social ill as well as a weakening of New York City’s tax base. The coalition also voiced apprehension that a casino in the district would disrupt Times Square’s post-pandemic recovery.
This coalition stands in opposition to the Coalition for a Better Times Square, which notably has support from Actors’ Equity Association and some Theater District restaurants.
However, the “No Times Square Casino” Coalition is clear: “Small businesses in our community have had to overcome profound challenges since the pandemic,” said Mary Hattman of Joe Allen and Orso eateries. “A plan for a casino in Times Square creates unnecessary hazards that we should not have to confront.”