Caesars Entertainment has sought to boost its bid to open New York City’s first full casino in Times Square by offering to extend its loyalty programme to local businesses.
The group said that should Caesars be successful in its bid for a license and open the Jay Z-backed Caesars Palace Times Square in Manhattan, Caesars Rewards members will be able to use their reward credits by converting them to gift cards, valid across the Caesars Rewards Gift Card Network. Partners would include participating hotels, restaurants, retailers, comedy clubs and entertainment venues across New York.
Caesars and partner SL Green Realty Corp have already begun signing up new merchants in Times Square and greater New York to join the Coalition for A Better Times Square.
Caesars said the expansion of its rewards scheme would “inject millions of new dollars” into the local economy.
“Caesars Rewards is the largest and most successful gaming loyalty program in the world, and it is a natural fit to bring it to a city like New York,” said Tom Reeg, chief executive of Caesars Entertainment. “We know from experience that investing in cities and neighborhoods benefits everyone involved. By expanding our powerful Rewards program in New York, we can better ensure that our work in Times Square creates good jobs and allows small businesses to grow and thrive.”
With more than 60 million members, Caesars Rewards is the largest loyalty program in the gaming industry. The move has been welcomed by some local businesses who believe the casino could benefit the economy across the city.
“As a small and minority-owned business owner and a New York State Latino Restaurant and Bar Association member, we are excited to join this coalition as this partnership will provide economic opportunity by attracting visitors and therefore future customers for our members in all five boroughs,” said Jeff Garcia, president of the NYS Latino Restaurant Bar and Lounge Association and owner of Mon Amour Coffee and Wine Bar in The Bronx.
Caesars announced in October that it planned to build a casino in Times Square, partnering with SL Green Realty and Jay Z’s Roc Nation entertainment group to do so. They want to convert existing office space at 1515 Broadway and create Caesars Palace Times Square. The venue would include 250,000 square feet of gaming and a 950-room hotel.
The New York Gaming Facility Board officially opened the bidding process for three downstate commercial casinos last month. Other operators that have expressed interest in licenses include Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and Universal Entertainment.