The Hard Rock Café is looking to bag a share of action as New York opens up to allowing regulated gambling in the state. They have identified three possible locations where they plan to build a land-based private casino. This could enable them to apply for one of the new online betting licenses should they wish to do so in the future.
Hard Rock Café is a global hospitality, entertainment, and gambling company. It is owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. They are currently developing a new $500 million hotel in Manhattan which is due to open in April. There has been a Hard Rock Café near Times Square for years, and it is a well-established part of the must-see tourist circuit. However, the plans for the new venture dwarf either of these. The casino will be a $2 billion development.
Jim Allen Hard Rock’s chairperson confirmed that the 446-room hotel was not one of the sites that they were considering as it would not be large enough for what was being planned. He said that in order to capitalize on the potential of the New York market, the real estate footprint had to be greater than the operations they are currently developing. He claimed that neither of the existing venues would be suitable as a casino.
Their New York hotel is already accepting reservations. It will include a penthouse on the 34th floor and a rooftop bar. There will be multiple public music spaces including The Venue on Music Row which will hold up to 400 people at all types of events including concerts, dinners, and fashion shows.
It is expected that the actual selection process for the precise location will begin in late summer or early fall. The project is still dependent on the necessary legislation being enacted which will authorize as many as three additional casinos. Hard Rock is not the only party interested in obtaining a license – many of the major players in the gambling and hospitality industry are making noises about wanting to have a share of the New York casino market
Betting is technically illegal in New York but there are some exceptions, namely state lotteries, horse racing, and licenses for up to seven private casinos. Hard Rock Café is hoping to apply for one of these licenses. So far four private casinos licences have been granted.
Earlier in the year, New Yorkers were given the go-ahead to gamble from home when online bookmakers were able to operate legally in the state for the first time. New York became the 18th state in the USA to allow online sports betting in some shape or form. Five US states allow other forms of online gambling. Wagers can be placed at the best online casinos in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia, and Connecticut.
The online Sportsbooks can operate despite not being mentioned as one of the exceptions above. When outgoing Governor, Andrew Cuomo, paved the way for online gambling to be legalized in New York, his team came up with a clever way around the existing restrictions. Namely that to operate as an online platform the licensor must run out a land-based casino in New York.
The online licenses that have been granted so far are for a ten-year period. Operators had to pay a $25 million one-fee for the Gaming Commission’s license and then the sports betting platforms are charged $5 million a year to the casino that hosts their server. Therefore, a $2billion investment in a casino for Hard Rock Café could be recouped quite quickly if they were to move into this market.
New York’s population of almost 20 million people is extremely attractive to the gambling industry. New Yorkers are disproportionately wealthy and have a fanatical interest in sports. In addition, many tourists are attracted to the city. New York is one of the USA’s largest and most important markets.