Hard Rock International, the global casino, entertainment and gambling company, said yesterday that there are three potential sites it could construct a casino in New York City. The name, owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, is already a fixture in the city, as it will open a $400-500-million hotel in Manhattan in April. The Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square has been a landmark on the tourist circuit for many years.
Hard Rock Rocks Its Way Across NYC
Allen was present in Atlantic City to announce Hard Rock’s $10 million bonus to 2,400 of its employees. This was to mark the casino’s performance for 2021. It also included the highest increase in gambling revenue in Atlantic City since 2019, prior to the pandemic.
The plan to create a brand new casino worth $2 billion in revenue in NYC would outweigh those other investments. Jim Allen, Hard Rock’s chairperson, claimed that there are at least three possible sites for a casino. However, he clarified that the soon-to-open Hard Rock Hotel New York, with its 446 rooms, would not be one.
Allen explained, “You have to have a footprint of real estate large enough to take advantage of the size of the market. We’re extremely proud of our hotel on 48th Street, but its footprint is just not large enough for gaming. As far as other locations, really, we’re waiting on the governor and the committee that’s going to be sending out the request for proposals to see what language is in the bill as to geographic locations that would be acceptable to the state.”
Allen added that he expects the actual selection to begin in the fall or summer, provided that legislation is passed to permit three casinos. Many major gambling and hospitality businesses have expressed interest in opening a New York-based casino.
Hard Rock’s New Jersey Conundrum
Hard Rock still holds a portion of Meadowlands, a racetrack located in East Rutherford in New Jersey. Allen stated that it has suggested building a casino there, which is still feasible. He stated that Hard Rock could also choose to open a New York City casino a mere few miles from Meadowlands, but it wouldn’t necessarily mean it would abandon plans for one at Meadowlands.
New Jersey’s Constitution will need to be changed to allow casino gambling to take place outside of Atlantic City. The referendum that would have allowed it was defeated by voters in 2016.
Allen stated that he was not suggesting the company drop the Meadowlands option. He asserted that Hard Rock is looking at the issue from all angles and states that it wouldn’t be impossible to consider having more than one casino operating in the same area. The Meadowlands is only about 14 miles from NYC.
Allen indicated that there is a risk of Hard Rock projects being developed in New York, or northern New Jersey, and siphoning money from the Atlantic City casino. He said, however, that the Atlantic City casinos could benefit from such a synergy by funneling gamblers into Atlantic City to attend special events.