With Governor Cuomo's Queens convention center plans seemingly DOA the question now is where to put a much needed new convention center—and if it should have a casino attached. One interesting option apparently being floated around? Putting a convention center/casino in Manhattan. To quote the Lotto: Hey, you never know!
When Cuomo first proposed letting seven full-fledged, non-Indian casinos open in New York State, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver made it clear that he wasn't a fan of the idea of them coming to New York County and Cuomo himself said that "I don’t think we need one in Manhattan." But with the Queens plan scrapped that all might change. "When you take Manhattan off the table,” one official told the Times, "you cost the state billions."
And Silver is keeping an openish mind: "I would prefer to stay out of the city, but certainly at best the fringes of the city, in order to avoid the social ills that come with casino gaming," he told the paper of record. Still, he added, "I’m not a fan of casino gaming, and I think generally our conference is not a fan of casino gaming."
A theoretical Manhattan casino would probably go on the Far West Side by the existing, depressing Jacob K. Javits Center. Apparently some serious companies who deal in casino/convention combos have been meeting with Cuomo about the idea and would even be willing to build out a new center as part of the project—but nothing is going to happen fast. First off, non-Indian, non-racino casinos are still illegal in New York and making them legal is a multi-year, multi-step process. Secondly, if they do get legalized, the details on taxing them are going to be crucial:
Any grand casino project would, inevitably, prompt a debate about taxation. The state would seek as high a tax rate on new casinos as it could get, because the rationale for expanded gambling is that it would generate revenue to help finance government. But casino developers are expected to argue that the capital costs of building convention space should be reflected with lower tax rates.
So yeah, nothing is happening fast. Meanwhile, we gotta say, the idea of a full on casino in the middle of Manhattan seems pretty terrifying. If they gotta put one in the city (and they really don't!), what's the matter with putting it out by that most famous of resort destinations, Coney Island? Marty would be thrilled.