A major player in the Las Vegas gambling industry, Wynn Resorts has teamed up with New York real estate giant Related Companies – promoter of Hudson Yards – to bid for a casino in midtown Manhattan. The parties want to place a casino in the western half of Hudson Yards.
The casino will be located near the Javits Center, in the western area of the still undeveloped Hudson Yards, the second part of the largest mixed-use private real estate project in US history, according to the New York Times. Building the west side of the ‘Yards’ has been a priority not only for Related, but also for Governor Kathy Hochul.
The bidding follows the approval in April by state lawmakers of up to three full-service casinos for New York City. While the move has set off a frenzy among gaming companies and real estate developers to seize the opportunity, Wynn’s downtown Manhattan project represents the first publicly announced proposal for one of the new casino licenses.
The Wynn deal confirms long-running rumors that Related was looking for a gaming industry partner to invest in Westside land, according to the New York Post. Related has been struggling for years to formalize plans for the undeveloped half of Hudson Yards.
The first part of Hudson Yards, featuring an upscale mall and condos, opened in 2019. While the $25 billion development plan for residential and office towers stalled due to the pandemic, the green light to build a casino and complex of entertainment can kick-start the project.
Partnership with Wynn could represent a leap in Related’s strategy
The partnership with Wynn could also represent a leap in Related’s strategy over its rivals. While its competitors have gone after gaming giants like Hard Rock and Sands, no other deals have been closed so far. SL Green, Vornado Realty Trust and Thor Equities are other developers who have been identified as having an interest in building a casino in various locations across the state.
One alleged project involves New York Mets owner Steve Cohen, who is said to be analyzing viable proposals for the surroundings of Citi Field in Willets Points.
The State Gaming Commission has until October 6 to create the Gaming Facility Location Board, which will manage the application process, which will launch within 90 days of its formation. The gaming regulator must also issue a formal request for proposals.
The fate of Related-Wynn’s proposal will largely depend on the willingness of local elected officials to accept a casino in Manhattan. To proceed, the initiative will have to get approval from an as-yet-unformed six-person community advisory committee.
“The gaming commission will decide where these casinos will be located, but we expect two of the state’s three casinos to be located in New York City,” said Fabien Levy, the mayor’s representative.
While Manhattan has long been considered one of the most exploited gaming markets in the country, companies that are granted casino permits will have to overcome significant resistance by convincing locals that a casino is in their best interest.