More NY Bodies Oppose Times Square Casino Citing Sex Trade, Human Trafficking Concerns

  • Three prominent NY organizations have joined the No Times Square Casino Coalition
  • CCBA President Greenspan thinks a casino would “cannibalize” Times Square’s essence
  • Existing slots parlors run by MGM Resorts and Genting are favorites to land two licenses
Times Square
Three more major New York organizations have joined the opposition against Caesars’ Times Square Casino. [Image:]

Opposition grows

Three more prominent New York organizations have swelled the growing numbers of people joining the No Times Square Casino Coalition, with one of the new bodies raising concerns over the downtown area becoming a “magnet for human trafficking and the sex trade.”

no to the proposed Caesars Palace Times Square casino

The fear was voiced by the National Organization for Women NYC’s (NOW NYC) President Sonia Ossorio on Tuesday. According to, Ossorio’s body joined the TDF (formerly the Theatre Development Fund) and the Council of Chelsea Block Associations in saying no to the proposed Caesars Palace Times Square casino build.

Through her role at NOW NYC, Ossorio is focused on safeguarding the vulnerable, which is why the head of the women’s body fears a casino in Times Square will spell trouble.

Ossorio said she knows the casino “on top of Times Square and in close proximity to the Port Authority Bus Terminal area” would make the bustling tourist area a hub for sex workers and human traffickers.

More concerned voices

The New York State Gaming Commission (NYGC) is, at a future date, scheduled to award three highly prized New York casino licenses. The Times Square bid group of Caesars, SL Green, and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation is one of at least nine metro area locations campaigning to be one of the chosen three.

Any negative publicity for one bidder is the others’ gain. In May 2023, Hofstra University filed a lawsuit against Las Vegas Sands in firm opposition to its proposed New York casino near the higher-learning institute. Sands CEO Rob Goldstein in April stated the NY casino license award process was “confusing and disappointing” while talking up gambling opportunities in Thailand instead.

Now, its Caesars turn to handle the increased opposition to its bid. Caesars much-vaunted project would convert an office standing at 1515 Broadway into a full-service, Vegas-style casino. But, according to a No Coalition survey cited by, 71% of registered voters residing in or near Times Square don’t want a casino as a neighbor.

Multiple theaters in the area have formed the Broadway League in opposition to a casino. The Broadway League’s Interim President Jason Laks said Times Square was “the heart and home” of Broadway and is concerned the rise in crime and congestion with a casino would make the area “less pleasant” to work or live there.

Council of Chelsea Block Associations’ President Sally Greenspan, meanwhile, thinks a casino would “cannibalize the very essence” of Times Square. She said it made no sense to build a casino in this “unique, thriving commercial district.”

High stakes

While Caesars in December welcomed the support for its bid by the landlords of two major properties surrounding the projected casino site, Tuesday’s negative PR is the last thing the Nevada-based entertainment giant needs in a pressure-cooker licensing race.  

Insiders heavily back existing slots parlors run by MGM Resorts International and Genting to land two of the licenses. Among the rest of the big guns in the running, LVS seems distracted, Bally’s is apparently in big trouble over its Chicago casino, and now Caesars is taking fire from all quarters.

The battle for the final license could, therefore, be a two-horse race between Hard Rock International/Steve Cohen’s bid for Citi Field Ballpark, and Wynn Resorts/Related Companies’ Hudson Yards proposal.

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