When Governor Hochul proposed the state budget in January, it included a plan that authorizes three new full gambling casinos in upstate New York. Currently, there are four casinos operating in upstate with two limited facilities in and around New York.
With the promise of tax revenue to fund education and the jobs that will be created to operate it, the idea of a full casino in New York is a long-held dream. For decades, New York saw its residents travel to Atlantic City and Connecticut to gamble, lacking tax revenue. With the prospect of gambling licensing, the rush begins: who should get the licenses?
Many new operators are sure to offer to develop a casino in New York’s five boroughs, but Resorts World New York City and MGM Empire City in Yonkers are both in a unique position to accelerate time to market.
Located on Rockaway Boulevard in Queens, Resorts World already has a large footprint and the infrastructure in place – a casino with over 6,500 slot machines and electronic table games, a luxurious new hotel, a range of catering and a racecourse. The establishment has a large parking lot as well as the proximity of the JFK international airport to facilitate accessibility for tourism and conventions.
Most importantly, Resorts World has a proven track record of running a successful operation and working closely with the community and elected officials.
“New York should explore all options that would bring people back to the city,” said Thomas Grech, president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “We have seen Resorts World as a good neighbor to the Chamber and its members. We know of his commitment to hiring Queens residents and helping local entrepreneurs.
A full gaming license would allow Resorts World to grow into a full-scale casino with table games and slots, avoiding lengthy zoning and development battles – something NYC is famous for, like the failure of West Side Stadium which was to be home to the New York Jets.
Additionally, the Governor has expressed his desire to bring a full gambling license to New York in a timely manner to generate much needed revenue. Every New Yorker is acutely aware of how large-scale projects can be thwarted or go years beyond the original opening dates. A facility expected to be built from the ground up is likely to face considerable questioning and scrutiny from surrounding neighborhoods and those who don’t care about more development, increased congestion, or a casino in their backyard.
“I trust Resorts World to be a responsible community partner because I have seen firsthand how they operate and how it benefits my constituents,” said City Council member Nantasha Williams. “Resorts World is already up and running and has built deep relationships in the community for years and can quickly and seamlessly pivot to a more comprehensive facility that serves our community’s tourists, workers and small businesses.”
Gambling licenses are being introduced at an opportune time for a city that has been hit hard by the pandemic, with casinos offering to speed up the rebound. According to Governor Hochul’s office, in the first 30 days alone, mobile sports betting generated $70 million in tax revenue, almost all of it going to education and youth sports. Those revenues exceeded initial estimates, and games in the downstate may follow suit.
With the experience, track record, and ability to begin full play in the fastest way possible, existing facilities – including Resorts World and MGM Empire City – should be at the forefront of any operator chosen to run this critical initiative.