Saturday, December 4, 2021

Hard Rock examines two New York casinos 8 miles apart

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (AP) – Hard Rock wants to build a casino in or near New York City, even though it is moving forward with plans to build another casino in northern New Jersey, about 8 miles away From him.

Jim Allen, chairman of a global gambling, entertainment and hospitality company owned by the Seminole Indian tribe in Florida, said Tuesday that Hard Rock will submit an expression of interest to New York City officials by December 10.

New York has three more casino licenses to be issued in the lower region of the state, which includes the city of New York, which has long been the holy grail of the casino industry, given the region’s population and wealth.

Speaking at the East Coast Gaming Congress in Atlantic City, Allen said Hard Rock has been planning a project in New York since the opportunity was announced seven years ago.

Allen later said in an interview that the company is not abandoning a plan, unveiled in 2015, to build a casino resort at the Meadowlands Racetrack near New York City.

“We are interested in both markets, and if God is kind enough to let us work in both, we would be happy to do so,” he said.

Hard Rock will need New Jersey voters’ permission to build the Meadowlands. In 2016, they vehemently rejected a plan that would allow casinos to open outside Atlantic City, the only place in New Jersey where they are allowed.

Allen, whose company spent half a billion dollars to open a Hard Rock casino in Atlantic City in 2018, said the New York and Northern New Jersey market could support a variety of casinos.

“How many casinos do you have right here?” he asked in Atlantic City, where there are nine. “One hundred percent, the market is big enough.”

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Last week, the New York State Gambling Commission called for expressions of interest in the three remaining casino licenses. Other major casino companies including Caesars Entertainment, Bally’s, Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts have also shown interest.

There are four commercial casinos in upstate New York that are part of the seven non-tribal casinos that voters allowed in 2013.

“Perhaps a resilient market like the New York subway could support two properties,” said David Schwartz, a gambling historian at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Jeff Goral, who owns the Meadowlands Racetrack and two casinos and racecourses in upstate New York, said he and Allen did not discuss whether Goral could collaborate with Hard Rock on the New York project or if such a development could affect their partnership in New York. Jersey.

Ralph Caputo, a New Jersey Democratic legislator from northern New Jersey, said he doubted the two Hard Rock projects could be successful this close. But he also noted that the stunning financial performance of the Meadowlands Racetrack in the nation’s leading sports betting market in New Jersey proves that northern New Jersey gambling advocates were right.

Meadowlands accounts for half of the sports betting revenue that the entire state of New Jersey receives each month. In September, New Jersey became the first US state to process over $ 1 billion in sports betting in one month.

“All disposable income is here,” Caputo said. “We knew what we were talking about.”

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Follow Wayne Parry on Twitter: @WayneParryAC

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