Nas proposes $5B 'ambitious' plan to compete with JAY-Z for NYC casino license

Queens hip-hop icon sets sights on resorts world casino expansion

A Celebration Of The Producer Hosted By Hit-Boy
A Celebration Of The Producer Hosted By Hit-Boy / Prince Williams/GettyImages

The battle between rap titans Nas and JAY-Z has taken an unexpected turn, and this time it’s not about bars or beef. The Queens-bred lyricist has thrown his hat into the ring with Resorts World Casino New York City’s audacious $5 billion expansion plan, a move that could significantly impact the casino landscape in southeast Queens.

The high-stakes showdown

At a recent event attended by gaming executives, local politicians, and celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, Nas unveiled the grand vision. His proposal aims to entice New York City into granting Resorts World one of its coveted three downstate gaming licenses. Currently, Resorts World operates under a “racino” license, allowing betting via slot machines alongside horse racing. But Nas wants more—a full-fledged casino experience that could rival the best in the world.

The Nas-backed plan

So, what’s in this ambitious proposal? Here are the highlights:

  1. State-of-the-art entertainment venue: Imagine a cutting-edge space that hosts concerts, shows, and events, drawing top-tier talent from around the globe.
  2. Greenspace and luxury hotel: Nas envisions a lush oasis where visitors can unwind, surrounded by greenery and luxury accommodations.
  3. Conference center: A hub for business meetings, conventions, and networking, designed to attract professionals and industry leaders.
  4. Genting innovation campus: A $50 million investment to house the Kenny “The Jet” Smith Academy, a community healthcare and wellness center, and the Queens STEAM Institute.
  5. Aqueduct park: This sprawling park will feature 3,000 units of workforce housing, over 50 acres of dedicated green space, and new transit connections to JFK Airport and Manhattan.

The competition

While Resorts World seems well-positioned due to its existing racino status, it faces fierce competition. JAY-Z, Nas’ former rival, is part of a competing bid to open a boutique-style casino in Times Square. The Brooklyn billionaire has teamed up with SL Green and Caesars Entertainment to transform the 1515 Broadway office tower into a swanky entertainment hub.

As the battle for gaming licenses heats up, Nas remains optimistic.

"This project,” he says, “will give new opportunities to the hard-working families who call Queens home."

With Nas and JAY-Z both vying for a piece of the action, the stakes have never been higher. The world watches as these hip-hop legends go head-to-head in a different kind of arena—one where the jackpot isn’t measured in rhymes but in billions.

Remember, this is not just about casinos; it’s about reshaping a neighborhood, creating jobs, and leaving a lasting legacy.