Allen, whose company spent a half-billion dollars to open a Hard Rock casino in Atlantic City in 2018, said the New York and northern New Jersey market can support numerous casinos.
“How many casinos do you have lined up right here?” he asked in Atlantic City, where there are nine. “One hundred percent, the market is large enough.”
Last week, the New York State Gaming Commission issued a call for expressions of interest in the three remaining casino licenses. Other major casino companies, including Caesars Entertainment, Bally’s, Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts, also have expressed interest.
There are four commercial casinos in upstate New York, part of the seven nontribal casinos that voters authorized in 2013.
“It may be possible that a market as robust as metro New York City could support two properties,” said David Schwartz, a gambling historian with the University of Las Vegas Nevada.
Jeff Gural, who owns the Meadowlands Racetrack, as well as two upstate New York racetrack casinos, said he and Allen have not discussed whether Gural might partner with Hard Rock on a New York project, or whether such a development might affect their partnership in New Jersey.
Ralph Caputo, a Democratic New Jersey state Assemblyman from northern New Jersey, said he doubts whether two Hard Rock projects could succeed so close to one another. But he also noted that the staggering financial performance of the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey’s nation-leading sports betting market proves proponents of northern New Jersey gambling were right.