Photo Credit: NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 23: Shawn 'Jay-Z' Carter attends Criminal Justice Reform Organization Launch at Gerald W. Lynch Theater on January 23, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images)
Jay-Z's Roc Nation Aims To Establish Caesars Palace In Times Square
New York City is close to embracing the world of gambling, and several billionaire investors are vying for a chance to hit the jackpot. After much deliberation, elected officials have granted authorization for a solitary casino license in the bustling metropolis. The move has ignited a fierce and, at times, contentious bidding war among affluent contenders.
One notable party interested in this high-stakes endeavor is Jay-Z and his entertainment company, Roc Nation. The renowned entrepreneur has joined forces with SL Green and Caesars Entertainment to propose the construction of a Caesars Palace in the heart of Times Square. In an open letter titled “It’s Time, Times Square,” shared on Roc Nation’s Instagram and Twitter accounts, the company made a compelling case for why they should be bestowed with New York City’s coveted gambling license.
“The winning group must have a proven track record of turning words into actions—prioritizing New York City and its diverse residents, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status,” the statement proclaimed. “Our proposal outlines an innovative plan that will not only attract additional tourists to our city but will also enhance the lives of everyday New Yorkers.”
Creating Opportunities For NYC Businesses
Jay-Z’s ambitious plan pledges to benefit local businesses, support mass transit, and invest in sanitation and security. The entertainment mogul and his team also plan to “implement a much-needed transportation strategy,” among other commitments.
“Our bid allocates $115 million for inclusive theater programs, including childcare services for Broadway workers and their families,” the letter further detailed.
New York voters had given their approval for Las Vegas-style casinos in 2013. However, it was only last year that Albany’s elected officials authorized casino licenses for downstate New York. This region includes New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County.
Billionaires Bidding For Casino
Several billionaires are now eagerly vying for the title of the King of New York casinos. Alongside Jay-Z, other contenders include Steve Cohen, owner of the New York Mets, John Catsimatidis, scion of Gristedes supermarket, and Stephen Ross, developer of Hudson Yards.
According to a source cited by The New York Post, “Every billionaire wants a casino. Owning a casino epitomizes success in the United States.”
However, these billionaires diverge in their visions of where to situate their casinos. In partnership with Hard Rock, Cohen envisions a casino near Citi Field in Queens, where the Mets play. Catsimatidis sets his sights on Coney Island, renowned for its boardwalk, amusement park, and hot dog eating contest. Ross, collaborating with Wynn, seeks to establish the casino in the recently developed Hudson Yards.
Amidst this fierce competition, allegations of a misinformation campaign have surfaced. The Roc Nation letter, which also appeared as advertisements in the New York Post, New York Daily News, and Amsterdam News, accused certain “conflicted parties” of spreading falsehoods, clarifying their stance in the letter.
Roc Nation refrained from specifying the parties involved. However, some speculate they were referencing a coalition comprising Broadway theater owners and producers, the midtown Manhattan community, and tenant organizations collectively known as No Times Square Casino.
Deadline reported that this coalition opposes the construction of a Caesars Palace in Times Square. The group is citing concerns about increased traffic congestion, economic disruption, and the potential diminishment of its family-friendly atmosphere.