Times Square is roaring again from the pandemic. “Ghost town” is a dim reminiscence. Theaters and eating places are packed. Companies are leasing more flooring in office towers even earlier than the buildings refill once more with reside human employees.
As every day foot visitors of 350,000 approaches pre-pandemic ranges, the very last thing the “Crossroads of the World” needs is on line casino playing. The hocus-pocus is being pushed by the standard suspects — actual property and resort corporations and labor unions — and egged on by Gov. Kathy Hochul, who would possibly instantly carry the statewide ban on new casinos which is presently in impact till 2023.
It’s a snake-oil gambit that may come up snake eyes for Times Square and the general public. What Times Square needs is more cops — not slots.
If visitors wish to gamble, they will wager $23.99 on Bubba Gump’s industrial-grade shrimp — or on getting photographed with Elmo with out getting taken to the cleaners.
Let’s begin with the plain: In a world awash in casinos, together with within the US, and the net betting increase, why does any gambler must go to Times Square? They don’t. The push for casinos there has one aim in thoughts: to complement builders, resort operators and union members, none of whom will seemingly undergo if the venues flop and taxpayers foot the payments.
Casino proponents drool over supposed tax advantages and job creation. But case after case has proven that casinos are nearly at all times monetary boondoggles. Too lots of them across the US went belly-up, together with in Atlantic City the place taxpayers are having to bail out a number of under-performing properties.
In reality, casinos generate a so-called regressive tax — which means they suck funds from individuals who can least afford it. Forget James Bond and tuxedoed oligarchs duking it out in Monte Carlo. Poor folks gamble so much more than wealthy folks. Just take a look at the sad-faced grandmas who take the bus to the Atlantic City boardwalk and go dwelling poorer.
Times Square has finished so properly with out slot machines that TikTok and Roku just lately moved their native headquarters there. Even a significant instructional establishment, Touro College, has arrange an enormous “campus” inside one of many office buildings. Huge new resorts just like the Hard Rock and Riu Plaza opened, assured that the pandemic’s waning will justify the investments.
But one factor stands in the best way of continued progress: crime, which leapt 20% within the first quarter of this year in comparison with the identical interval in 2021. High-profile Times Square horrors have included ladies pushed to their deaths on subway tracks and show-goers caught in crossfires.
The peril extends past NYPD statistics. Although the realm isn’t the open-air drug market and mugging floor of 30 years in the past, any stroller, office employee or vacationer can see and scent (because of pot in every single place) the menace.
I’m so much more alert than I used to be simply three years in the past. The Three-Card-Monte hustlers aren’t again — not less than not but. But I’m typically pestered by youngsters attempting to promote me faux CDs and even shadier characters, like those who milled concerning the Longacre Theatre in a downpour a couple of nights in the past after a efficiency of “Macbeth.”
This is what we have to sort out now — not the imaginary advantages of casinos, the worst wager that the town and state would ever make.