Saks Fifth Avenue Makes Bid to Open Casino in NYC Flagship Store
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Watch out, Las Vegas — Manhattan may become the country's next big gambling hub.
Saks Fifth Avenue is throwing its hat in the ring for a coveted license to open one of New York City's first casinos. A source close to Hudson's Bay Company, owner of Saks, confirmed to Insider on Saturday that the company has officially placed a bid for one of the city's three available licenses, which would allow the luxury department store to build and operate a full-scale casino.
Per the source, the plan involves converting upper floors "currently used as a swing space" to develop the casino, intended to "attract visitors and tourists from around the world seeking that luxurious, Manhattan experience."
"We have invested significant time and energy over the last year in building a strategic plan to most effectively and positively enhance our Saks Fifth Avenue experience with a luxury, high-end casino," the source said.
The area is expected to include the top three floors of the store, comprising a collective 200,000 square feet, and the casino would include a separate lobby from the department store, according to the New York Times, which first reported the bid.
"The Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store is a staple of one of the most iconic streets in Manhattan," the source told Insider. "It is of particular importance to us that we continue to invest in the vibrancy and spirit of Fifth Avenue itself."
Competition for the licenses has grown fierce since state legislators first authorized casinos in the city in April 2022. The state's Gaming Facility Location Board opened formal bidding last week, in a process that requires a minimum asking price of $500 million for each license, Gothamist reported.
Saks Fifth Avenue will be competing with other hopefuls, including Coney-Island owner, Thor Equities; Saratoga Casino Holdings, owner and operator of a race track near Albany; Legends, a company co-founded by affiliates of the New York Yankees; Chickasaw Nation, which operates several casinos across the US; and Steve Cohen, owner of the Mets, who is vying to build a casino with Hard Rock near Citi Field, per Gothamist.
The winners of the licenses are expected to be announced later this year. The board will consider job creation potential, economic growth, and a commitment to collaborate with minority contractors, according to New York Daily News.
While voters passed legislation that allowed casinos to open in the state in 2013, the policy allowed for only four casino licenses upstate to start, so the emerging businesses could get their bearings before having to compete with the New York City market, the Times reported.