For a little while now, there has been growing buzz around the idea of a new casino property in New York City. The latest news on the subject concerns the blocking of casino plans, but there are some local lawmakers who intend to continue pursuing the idea. It seems at least reasonably likely that a city casino will be approved at some point in the next few years, which got us wondering — what would actually make or a good casino in New York City?
There’s no telling how a project like this might materialize at this stage. But there are some things that would make it an instant hit…
Standard Casino Floor(s)
For starters, a New York City casino shouldn’t be too inventive with its core offerings. Casinos have always worked as they are, and to some extent, this potential property ought to emulate the best of them. That means layouts of slot banks, video poker and blackjack machines, dozens of table games, and perhaps a few one-off jackpot gimmicks here and there. In other words, this venue, should it ever come to exist, should resemble casinos that are already beloved and successful around the world.
Video Games & Virtual Sports
With the above point made, a New York City casino would also do well to innovate in subtle ways — and building in some video game and virtual sports entertainment would be an excellent way to do so. Virtual sports have caught on in casinos in recent years, and ordinary video games with gambling components are seen as a sort of next frontier in casinos (not to mention a magnet for younger demographics). A casino in the city that pioneered these concepts in new and exciting ways would generate a lot of attention.
There are some outdated perceptions of bingo as more of a vintage game, but the truth of the matter these days is that online casinos have given the game something of a makeover. Online bingo games support social interaction and are often kept interesting by various background themes — and not just visually. The “Bingo Beats” games on Gala Bingo bring music into the experience in an engaging way, and likewise the “Deal Or No Deal” game mixed classic bingo with game show elements. These concepts can certainly be brought into real casinos, or might inspire new takes on, shall we say, modernized bingo. Plus, at the end of the day, New Yorkers like to do things in groups and crowds. A busy, updated bingo floor might just be a hit.
This one’s a no-brainer. There are already some great active sportsbooks around New York (and Atlantic City), and New Yorkers love their sports. Whether for the NBA and March Madness in the winter and spring, baseball through the summer, or football through the fall, a large, well-designed sportsbook in a New York City casino would be consistently packed. Throw in some bar counters and good comfort food and this would probably be one of the most popular aspects of the venue.
Maybe it goes without saying that a high-end casino complex in a major city would have great restaurants. But in New York — a city some would still cite as having the best culinary scene on the planet — the food will really need to be spectacular. The good news is that almost anything good would work! Thrillist recently took a look at some high-profile openings in the city this year and highlighted venues like Veranda in Soho (boasting “global” flavors), Tom Colicchio’s Vallata New York in Flatiron, and The Glass Ceiling in NoMad (featuring elevated comfort fare with seafood lean). And any one of those options would it just perfectly in a new casino as well. Basically, anyone in charge of a new casino should let New York’s chefs and restauranteurs do their thing.
Too often, casino bars come off a little bit cheap. That’s fine, but it would be nice to see the more casual bars attached to a sportsbook, and a few more elevated, elegant bars situated elsewhere in a property like this. These bars could highlight craft cocktails and local brews, employ some of the city’s best bartenders, and become trendy spots for meet-ups and date nights — even for those who aren’t going to the casino to play games or bet on sports.
Last but not least, it would be wonderful to see a New York City casino eschew the gaudy, over-the-top aesthetic of so many popular casinos and instead go with a classier look. That’s not to say they shouldn’t have some fun with the design, nor that there shouldn’t be plenty of themed décor and flashing lights; it should look like a casino. But it’s nice to imagine a more modern venue — more Aria than Caesar’s Palace if a Las Vegas comparison is helpful. It would fit the city better, and appeal to a wider range of clientele.
As noted, the idea of a New York City casino is still being debate right now, and there is some resistance. But there’s still a decent chance this will happen, and if it does, it would be great to see a venue something like what we just outlined for fun.
If there is concrete news about a new casino being designed in the city, we’ll have it for you here at Spice Market!