NYC casino developer on crime and traffic

Nyc casino developers ideas on mitigating crime and traffic

In the fierce competition for a highly sought-after state gaming license, a number of Manhattan developers hope to allay the main worries of New York City residents regarding the potential opening of a full-scale NYC casino on the East Side.

The Soloviev Group and Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment are working together on a proposed casino for Freedom Plaza on the East Side. Freedom Plaza is situated off FDR Drive between 37th and 41 Streets, not far from the United Nations.

The CEO of Soloviev, Michael Hershman, stated that his organization has strategies in place to reduce local crime and facilitate transit to and from the suggested entertainment site. Among the main quality-of-life issues that locals have raised with regard to the proposed casino in Manhattan are crime and traffic.

To begin with, even though there will probably be a lot of entertainment options available as part of the development project, the Soloviev team chose to create a more intimate performance space with a seating capacity of only 3,000 in order to prevent increasing the amount of foot and vehicle traffic in the region. Hershman noted that they don't want to build an event center in the neighborhood that will exacerbate the existing severe traffic and safety issues in the area, nor do they want to compete with Madison Square Garden.

The casino project, which would turn an empty lot into an upscale resort with hotels and two residential buildings, is situated close to the UN complex. The project's plans, which were unveiled in February of this year, offer entertainment possibilities beyond standard casino games. In addition, it will have a museum, bars, restaurants, and a wellness facility.

Hershman added that the company came up with a plan that attempts to make entering and leaving the property easy, thereby limiting traffic overflow, because it recognizes that traffic congestion is a valid problem for East Side residents and business owners.

“There will be no vehicular entrances to the property on First Avenue in order to avoid the build-up of traffic on that street,” Hershman said, adding that the busy uptown thoroughfare will only offer pedestrian thruways. According to Hershman, there will be three car entries at the site: one for the casino, which would be located off the FDR service road and towards the back of the property; another for the hotel, located on 41 Street; and a third for residential use, located on 38 Street.

There is a great deal of worry among New Yorkers and many public officials regarding the potential opening of full-service casinos in the Las Vegas model around the city. At the top of the list of reasons to avoid casinos is criminality, in addition to their potential for increased traffic. Many folks just don’t believe that casinos are good corporate citizens. “A lot of folks think casinos bring crime to the neighborhood, when in fact, it’s just the opposite,” Hershman opined. “Because of the additional security that is required of casinos and a development like this, the neighborhood actually becomes safer.”

In fact, if casinos are prepared to make careful hiring decisions and invest the necessary funds in employee training, they can actually assist local law enforcement agencies in solving a wide range of crimes, according to an FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin article. Although their skills are frequently exaggerated, the article mentions casino security and surveillance officials as having training in closed-circuit television monitoring and the capacity to identify and keep an eye out for illicit activity.

Even still, there is still a lot of hostility to casinos. For example, New York State Senator Liz Krueger , who represents Manhattan, has made no secret of her disapproval of casinos. “I have been clear for many years,” Krueger recently stated, “I oppose casinos and gambling in general. I find it to be a tax on desperation, with no society benefits and real prices to be paid.”

A recent poll conducted by the No Times Square Casino Coalition across town revealed that 71% of registered voters who reside in and surrounding Manhattan's tourism hub are against the establishment of a casino there. However, at least nine venues in and around the city, including Freedom Plaza, Hudson Yards, and Times Square, are in the running for casino licenses that will be awarded in the upcoming years. All casino bids are currently in the early phases of the state-run licensing procedure, which entails a lengthy list of approvals.


“NYC casino bidder discusses plans that address crime, traffic concerns” , Barbara Russo-Lennon,, July 6, 2024.


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