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Resorts World Casino celebrates first year in business

Resorts World presents a check for $500,000 to NYC Community Groups, benefiting an array of city charities. Photo by Steve Mosco
TimesLedger Newspapers

The early returns are in and one year after officials rolled the dice on a casino at the long-fading Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park, business is booming.

Resorts World Casino New York City celebrated its one-year anniversary recently and announced it has emerged as the single largest slot revenue gaming property in the country , generating close to $650 million in revenue over the last 12 months, outpacing slots at Atlantic City in New Jersey and Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.

Aside from the gross gaming revenues generated since it opened, Resorts World has sent more than $445 million in tax revenue to the state, with more than $286 million of that going directly to the state’s education fund.

To further celebrate its successful year, Resorts World President Michael Speller presented a check for a half million dollars to local community groups at the casino’s anniversary celebration Oct. 25.

“While we never doubted this would be a successful venture, not only for Resorts World Casino New York City, but for the Queens community and New York state, we have far exceeded expectations,” said Michael Speller, president of Resorts World Casino New York City. “We are confident that as we continue enhancing our gaming and entertainment offerings for the next year, the Queens community and New York state will continue to be the big winners at Resorts World Casino, with record revenues for education and the horse racing industry.”

Speller said the half-million dollar donation officially launches Resorts World Casino’s Resort World Gives philanthropic foundation, dedicated to the continued support of the local community.

Genting New York, a subsidiary of the largest gambling company in England and Southeast Asia, opened the casino last fall, with 4,525 electronic slot machines and 475 electronic table games. The gaming giant converted the dilapidated grandstand at Aqueduct into an electronic gaming mecca packed with slot machines and a dizzying array of restaurants.

Casino officials were joined by elected officials and community members to celebrate the anniversary, with many marveling at the amount of success the facility has seen in one year.

“Developing the site and constructing the facility generated more than a thousand jobs — many of which went to residents of the surrounding neighborhoods,” U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) said.

“Resorts World provides permanent employment to over 1,200 New Yorkers. The hundreds of millions of dollars it pays in taxes helps fund public education in the state,” he said. “Its partnerships with local contractors and collaborative relationships with nonprofits has contributed to the development of small businesses and established Resorts World’s reputation as a model corporate citizen.”

As there is always room for improvement, the state Legislature began the process of amending the state constitution earlier this year to permit full table gaming. The next step in the process is another amendment and then the measure will go to voters in a referendum.

Until then, Resorts World and the state’s elected officials will continue to revel in the casino’s early successes.

“One year ago this week, the Queens community came together to welcome Resorts World to the borough and one year later we have 1,750 new jobs, millions of dollars in additional tax revenue, and an anchor business in Queens that is partnering with local businesses to help them to thrive and grow,” said state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach). “Resorts World has been a tremendous partner to the Queens community and the impact it’s having on our local economy will only grow in the years to come.”

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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