Politicians and leaders in the Queens business community are calling for the state to ante up on full gaming in Queens.
State legislators and the Queens Chamber of Commerce called for a better plan to give Queens a casino if voters approve table gaming this November. They said Resorts World Casino New York City could become a full casino just months after the referendum is passed.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has said if complete gaming is approved, an upstate casino will be the first to reap the benefits and drive tourism north. Queens might not get a casino until five years after the referendum passes.
The Queens Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director Jack Friedman said both upstate and downstate New York will have an opportunity for full casinos if voters approve them.
“We’re saying to the governor, this is not an either-or proposition,” Friedman said. “There’s room for both. Let’s do it now. Resorts World is ready, willing and able to take on table gaming, and it would be a big, big boost to the Queens economy.”
The Racino has boasted more than a billion dollars in total revenue – a large amount of which goes back to the state for education – along with employment opportunities for locals.
Councilmember Leroy Comrie said the Racino has hired many people in his district. He added that more jobs from full gaming would help unemployed people in Queens, especially those affected by Sandy.
State Senator Joseph Addabbo, whose district includes Resorts World, said the Racino could have table games as early as January 2014 if Queens is approved under the state’s plan.
Both Addabbo and Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder said they and their communities could not wait up to five years for full gaming to come to Queens.
Addabbo said he is pushing for a sooner start time if a casino is cleared for south Queens. In the remaining five weeks the legislature is in session, the senator said there are still considerable discussions that have to take place.
“We are in uncharted territory here,” Addabbo said. “This is an unpaved road for our state. We’ve never been in a position like this before for full gaming.”
Goldfeder said the tools were already at Resorts World to set up expanded gaming at the facility.
“Infrastructure is already in place,” he said. “Anybody who’s been there knows there’s a third floor ready to expand, to house the table games. You have a trusted partner that is willing. You have a location that is perfect and now is the time.”