Last Friday marked the opening of Resorts World New York, a casino at Aqueduct racetrack in Ozone Park, New York featuring video lottery terminals and electronic table games. The opening was something many people had thought would never happen.
Doors opened to the public at 1 p.m., and despite very little advertisement, gamblers were lined up outside on both ends of the facility waiting to get in. Only one floor of what will eventually be three floors was opened with a total of 205 electronic table games and 2,280 video lottery terminals located in what was formerly Aqueduct’s grandstand.
Before the official opening, an hour-long opening ceremony was held outside of the casino, where both local and state politicians congratulated one another for finally getting the casino opened. Legislation allowing casinos at racetracks was signed about 10 years ago by then Governor George Pataki.
“I had my doubts, I’ll be honest with you,” said trainer and president of New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Rick Violette, “It’s unbelievable that it’s been 10 years.”
The second phase, which will add an additional 270 electronic table games and 2,240 video lottery terminals – making a total of 4,995 machines – will open on the second floor around mid-December. The top floor, which is also set to open in December, will house 130,000 square feet of event space to be used for conventions, concerts, banquets, and possibly table games, if legislation is ever passed to allow them.