Opposition against a proposed Times Square casino is gaining traction as new, and powerful, organizations join the fight. This week, Broadway Cares Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and 54 Below joined a growing list of individuals and organizations that belong to or support The No Times Square Casino Coalition.
At the heart of the conflict in Times Square is how much the proposed casino would change the character of the storied neighborhood. Members of the coalition are concerned that a massive casino project would create traffic problems in the already congested area and would make Times Square less appealing to families.
“After a decades-long turnaround that revitalized the neighborhood and turned it into a pre-eminent destination for locals, businesses and tourists, Times Square is one of the most vibrant areas in the country. We don’t want to see that progress jeopardized by a casino,” Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, recently told Deadline.com.
While the No Times Square Casino Coalition has plenty of support from local theater groups and businesses, the proposed casino has supporters from the theater community, too. The labor union Actors’ Equity Association is standing behind the project and is welcoming the prospect of more jobs for actors in New York City.
Local businessman Mark Holliday voiced his support for the project saying, “We believe that Times Square offers the best location for a new resort casino that can attract tourists and benefit local businesses. We’re excited to pursue this license with Caesars and our many local partners. Our approach will ensure that under-represented communities benefit both in terms of employment and investment opportunities.”
It’s unclear how much local opposition to a proposed casino site will matter in New York. While it is a factor the gambling commission can consider, there’s no statute requiring them to go along with said opposition.