Caesars Expands Rewards Program in Quest for Times Square Casino

Caesars Entertainment and SL Green announced Thursday that the casino operator is expanding its customer loyalty program to accommodate New York City-area businesses as the companies attempt to win approval to bring a gaming venue to Times Square.

Caesars Rewards
Times Square in New York City. Caesars is expanding Caesars Rewards as part of its plan to bring a casino to the area. (Image: Food & Wine)

With more than 60 million members, Caesars Rewards is the gaming industry’s largest loyalty platform. The gaming giant and the real estate investment trust (REIT) announced last October that they are partnering to bring a casino hotel to 1515 Broadway in Times Square. Roc Nation, the entertainment agency controlled by rapper Jay-Z, has since joined the consortium.

When Caesars Palace Times Square opens in Manhattan, Caesars Rewards members will be able to use their Reward Credits by converting them to gift cards, valid across the Caesars Rewards Gift Card Network, including participating hotels, restaurants, retailers, comedy clubs, entertainment venues and more across New York,” according to a statement.

Based on the number of venues, Caesars is the largest casino operator in the US. Members of its loyalty platform can accrue points through the Caesars Sportsbook app and at non-gaming hotels.

Caesars Leveraging Rewards to Gain Favor in New York

As part of its effort to build relationships with local businesses, Caesars and SL Green have been signing merchants up to the “Coalition For a Better Times Square,” a group comprised of eateries, theater organizations, and trade associations, among others. Last month, the coalition threw its support behind the Times Square casino plan.

Caesars and SL Green teaming up with the coalition and leveraging the gaming company’s rewards program to include local businesses could be a shrewd move because much of the opposition to a Times Square casino centers around concerns that such a venue would keep visitors inside betting and not venturing out to area restaurants and theaters.

Caesars is looking to allay those concerns by allowing members of its loyalty program to use tier credits to buy gift cards redeemable at area businesses. Additionally, there’s something in it for points junkies, too, because they can earn tier credits at those businesses when they use the Caesars Rewards credit card.

The Caesars Rewards Visa is issued in partnership with Bread Financial, a financial services firm specializing in private label and co-brand credit cards, installment lending, buy now, and pay later (BNPL).

Caesars Palace Times Square Plans

Caesars and SL Green are among the industry titans vying for a New York City casino license, a trio of which are expected to be awarded late this year. Several other competing groups are also eyeing Manhattan, while some rivals are considering Brooklyn, the Bronx, Long Island, and Queens.

As is the case with nearly every other consortium competing for the downstate permits, Caesars, Roc Nation, and SL Green are promising the creation of a significant number of construction jobs and thousands of high-paying, permanent union roles.

“The venue would include 250,000 square feet of gaming and a 950-room hotel. Caesars Palace Times Square will be 100% privately funded,” according to the companies.

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