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History was made Friday when Aqueduct Racetrack opened Resorts World Casino New York City. According to the casino operators, 65,000 people jammed the slot machines and gaming tables during the opening weekend while thousands of would-be gamblers waited in the cold for their chance to play.
In addition to the 2,300 VLT machines, the casino also includes 200 electronic table games like roulette and baccarat.
But not everyone is happy. Critics say the table games violate the spirit of the state’s ban on casino games. Others say the casino will increase area crime.
We doubt the slot machines and other games will encourage crime. The casino will be open until 4 a.m. with heavy security. It could cause crime to decline.
There are two groups that will not benefit from the casino: gamblers who cannot control their habit and casinos in nearby resorts.
In its defense, Resorts World Casino, still under construction, claims it will employ 1,400 construction workers and 1,350 permanent casino employees. With unemployment above 10 percent in southeast Queens, it is hard not to see this as a plus for the area.
Adding to the excitement, racing resumed at Aqueduct this week.
Although we have reservations about gambling and the problems it can cause, we are hopeful Resorts World New York City will be a shot in the arm for southeast Queens. We wish it success.
Son of Queens Freed
It was not justice — not even close — but it was a welcome outcome nonetheless.
Ilan Grapel, a law student from Oakland Gardens, was freed last week from a prison in Egypt where he was being held on trumped-up spying charges.
In return for freeing Grapel, Israel released 25 Egyptian prisoners. Israel has given assurance that none of the prisoners it released are believed to be terrorists, but some were in prison on drug charges.
The deal, which was made possible by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman, defused a potential crisis between Israel and Egypt.
Still, we hope Ackerman made it clear that this cannot happen again. Innocent Americans cannot be used as bargaining chips.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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