A casino and a Ferris wheel might eventually open on top of the U.N. in midtown Manhattan

Here's another casino bid that officials might grant a license to.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan
Senior National News Editor
Freedom Plaza
Rendering: Courtesy of Soloviev Group

Just last year, the New York State legislature approved licenses for three new casinos to open in the New York City area.

Since then, we've been hearing about a slew of different bids to open gaming facilities around town. Given the business opportunity, it's no surprise that all sorts of companies are trying to get their hands on those licenses.

In December, for example, JAY-Z's Roc Nation joined SL Green and Caesars Entertainment in a proposal for a new Times Square casino potentially named Caesars Palace Times Square

Citi Field has also entered the conversation as New York Mets team owner Steve Cohen announced intentions to turn the stadium's parking lot into a gaming destination.

This week, another player has made its voice heard: Soloviev Group, who has announced a partnership with Mohegan as part of a plan to open a mostly underground casino near the headquarters of the United Nations in Manhattan's midtown east neighborhood. 

According to the New York Times, the grandiose project, preliminarily dubbed Freedom Plaza, would also include two residential towers, a performance venue, a 1,200-room hotel, a museum about democracy showcasing "giant slabs of the Berlin wall" and four acres of green space anchored by an enormous Ferris wheel.

Although the casino would obviously be a big draw, Michael Hershman, the chief executive of Soloviev Group, told the paper of record that the scope of the initiative goes way beyond that portion of the plan, really trying to find a solution to the relative "lack of hotel rooms, retail and restaurants" in the area. 

A slew of other gaming-related bids have already been announced but officials still have time to choose the three options they'll give actual licenses to.

The New York Times reports that "the earliest that the state's Gaming Facility Location Board is expected to make a decision [...] is late 2023, but the process could stretch on for much longer, because of complicated land-use questions and a lengthy community feedback process."

Whoever ends up winning those permits will shape what we're sure will become a huge aspect of New York's cultural and tourist-related offerings moving forward. 

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