Jay-Z  Bets Big On New Times Square Casino With Caesars Entertainment 

By Sabrina Lynch

  • Jay-Z’s Roc Nation placed a bid to bring a casino to Times Square with Caesars Entertainment and SL Green
  • New York’s mobile sports betting market could generate $20B a year in wagers

Jay-Z’s Roc Nation has joined forces with SL Green and Caesars Entertainment to pursue building a casino in the epicenter of New York City tourism, Times Square. Like the Avengers assembling, the business mogul is partnering  with the biggest companies in real estate and hospitality to develop a state-of-the-art gaming facility primed to be one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Predicted to attract more than seven million more annual visitors to New York, the venture could see over $166 million in retail spend at local businesses.

Why This Matters: Minority ownership of casino’s is a rare occurrence in the gaming industry, so ever since three gambling licenses for New York state became up for grabs, it opened the door to level the playing field for Black investors. Caesars Entertainment has a commanding grip on the casino market nationwide and boasts a market cap of $11.27 billion. Currently, there is just ONE proposal to build and open the only Black-owned casino and dining destination in the country, a $517 million project by Urban One in Richmond, Virginia. 

Earlier this year, Jay Z applied for a license with 76ers’ owner Michael Rubin to form Fanatics sportsbook, a potential new mobile gambling hub for the Big Apple. This investment valued the company at $18 billion, tripling its valuation from a year ago. Now developers are really stepping up their game, sparing no effort to pursue a license from the New York State Gaming Commission. This presents an opportunity for the next Don Barden, the first African American to own a casino, to arise.  

Situational Awareness: Equity in gambling is a double-edged sword. Caesars Entertainment Times Square could provide billions in tax revenue and accelerate the city’s economic recovery with a Hip-hop serial entrepreneur. However, this could also widen the gap in economic imbalances among  NYC neighborhoods, particularly opportunity zones, that inevitably will impact poverty rates despite new jobs being created.

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