'Feeling lucky.' Caesars CEO gambles on winning a coveted casino license in Times Square
The CEO of North America's largest gaming operator sat down with News 12's Tara Rosenblum about in-depth plans to place a full-scale Las Vegas-style casino in the heart of Times Square if given the opportunity.
Caesars Entertainment is one of roughly a dozen gaming giants rumored to be applying for one of the three highly coveted casino licenses in New York state. The list includes some of the world's largest casino operators and developers.
CEO Tom Reeg says if granted a license, Caesars will retrofit an existing 52-story skyscraper owned by partner SL Green along 45th Street and Seventh Avenue to include 250,000-square feet of gaming space and a 950-room hotel.
Reeg says Jay-Z and his company, Roc Nation, are also partners of the project that would be the most expensive property that Caesars has ever been built.
The casino would have bars overlooking Times Square, a tailored experience for different levels of players and an "unbelievable sports book experience."
"If you think about our partnership with Roc and what Jay-Z has done in sports bar type elements in his empire, if you combine the two, I think you'll have something that's unmatched in the country," says Reeg.
Reeg says safety and traffic plans have also been considered.
"We have traffic consultants all ready with plans where we would reduce the congestion in Times Square from where it is today ... And I think if opponents take the time to sit down and hear what we're planning, what my experience has been, is they walk away with a different opinion," he says.
Reeg also predicts the revenue that the casino would bring into New York. "I'd say we already pay north of $100 million in taxes to the state of New York through sports betting, and we would expect this property to exceed that by a healthy margin," he says.
It takes about three years to build a casino, but Reeg says Caesars would be able to retrofit the Times Square skyscraper in about 18 to 24 months.
"This is a worthwhile prize," he says. "I am feeling lucky."
Watch Power & Politics on Sunday for more details on the plans to build a casino in Yonkers.