Let the games begin!
After three governors and three years of false starts, video gambling at Aqueduct Race Track will become a reality next Friday.
Resorts World Casino New York is set to open at 1 p.m. Oct. 28 to bring the first legalized gaming to the city with 2,485 video lottery terminals and electronic table games.
“This project has created more than 1,350 jobs and together we’ve built a truly state-of-the-art entertainment facility for the borough of Queens and beyond,” said Resorts World Casino New York President Mike Speller. “The grand opening is the result of the vision and hard work of so many different people — both our unbelievable, hardworking construction crews that have seen the project through the beginning and our top-notch permanent staff who have worked so tirelessly to ensure we are able to introduce the very best of what Resorts World represents to New York City today.”
The gambling floor will be known as the Times Square Casino, with 2,485 VLTs and electronic table games.
Also on the floor will be dining options ranging from seasonal and international fare to the Aqueduct Buffet to a food court that includes Wolfgang Puck Express, the Stage Deli and Queens Burger.
And for those looking for a cocktail and a panoramic view of the racetrack, the floor features Bar 360 and Lounge, described as “swanky” by the racino’s operator.
Bar 360 offers seating for 200 in a theater-in-the-round setting with a stage that will host live music, comedy and other entertainment acts, Resorts World said.
The lounge also has a huge 28-foot-by-18-foot, high-definition screen billed as the biggest in the borough for those who want to watch sporting events.
In the next two months, Resorts World will open up a second floor of gaming dubbed the 5th Avenue Casino and Crockfords Casino.
Other additions include upscale restaurants RW Prime Steakhouse and the Chinese-themed Genting Palace.
Besides more gaming and food, another 2,515 VLTs and electronic gaming tables will open up in the second phase along with a 130,000-square-foot events center, which Resorts World said will be the largest event space in the borough.
Genting, a Malaysia-based conglomerate, was awarded the VLT contract last year in what was a long process.
In February 2008, Gov. Eliot Spitzer said negotiations were underway for the VLT contract, which was awarded to Buffalo-based Delaware North in 2008.
But the company could not come up with the $370 million upfront payment it promised the state and another round of bidding was started.
Aqueduct Entertainment Group was then selected for the project in January 2010, but backed out after questions arose over the group’s ties to the Rev. Floyd Flake, the influential southeast Queens minister.
Gov. David Paterson met with Flake a week before the announcement of AEG as the winning bidder, which raised suspicions that Paterson selected AEG after Flake said he was open to endorsing state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for governor rather than Paterson.
But Paterson announced he would not seek election and Genting was selected for the project in a third round of bidding.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2011 Community News Group
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