By WAYNE PARRY, Associated Press
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (AP) — Hard Rock, the global gaming, hospitality and entertainment company, has three potential sites on which it could build a casino in New York City, its chairman said Thursday.
The company, owned by Florida’s Seminole tribe, will open a new $400-500 million hotel in Manhattan in April and has long run a Hard Rock Cafe near Times Square, which is a must-visit tourists is.
But his plan for a new $2 billion casino in the city would eclipse those investments.
In an interview after speaking at a staff meeting at the Atlantic City Casino, Hard Rock chairman Jim Allen said the company has lined up at least three potential New York locations for a casino, although he didn’t name them would.
But he said the soon-to-be-opened, 446-room Hard Rock Hotel New York would not be one of them.
“You have to have a large enough property portfolio to take advantage of the size of the market,” he said. “We’re very proud of our hotel on 48th Street, but its footprint just isn’t big enough for gaming. As for other locations, we’re really waiting for the governor and the committee that will send out the call for proposals to see what language will be in the bill as for the geographic locations that would be acceptable to the state.
Allen said he expects the actual selection process to begin in late summer or early fall, assuming the necessary legislation to approve up to three casinos is in place by then. Many of the major gaming and hospitality companies have also expressed interest in building a New York casino.
Hard Rock owns a fractional interest in the Meadowlands racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey, just outside New York City, and has proposed building a casino there — a plan that’s still viable, Allen said.
If Hard Rock is chosen to build a casino in New York City just a few miles away, that wouldn’t necessarily mean it would scrap plans to build one in the Meadowlands as well, he said.
The New Jersey constitution would need to be amended to allow casino gambling outside of Atlantic City, and a referendum that would allow it was adamantly rejected by voters in 2016.
“I’m not saying we would give up a Meadowlands option,” he said. “I think we have to look at the different circumstances. “There’s certainly an opportunity to have more than one product in a geographic area, as we’ve done many times in our industry.”
Allen said there was a risk that a Hard Rock project in New York or upstate New Jersey would siphon business from its Atlantic City casino. But he also said the symbiosis of such a relationship could actually help the Atlantic City casino by bringing players visiting a New York-area establishment to Atlantic City for special events, such as an Andrea Bocelli concert at the June.
A casino in New York will generate about $2 billion in gaming revenue, he said.
“The question is, how much of that will come from Atlantic City?” he asked.
The New York hotel, which is already taking reservations, will feature a rooftop bar, a 34th-floor penthouse and live music in several public spaces.
It will also include The Venue on Music Row, an entertainment facility that can accommodate 400 guests for concerts, fashion shows, after parties and dinners.
Follow Wayne Parry on Twitter at @WayneParryAC
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