Governor Andrew Cuomo pulled a wild card last week.
New York will get seven new casinos if voters approve a full-gaming amendment this fall, Cuomo said during his State of the State address. Most of these casinos, however, will be upstate — particularly in the Finger Lake region — to drive tourism to other areas of New York.
The news has some elected officials working to ensure Resorts World Casino New York City will continue growing in South Ozone Park and creating jobs in the area.
Immediately after the governor’s generalized proposal on gaming in the state, State Senator Joseph Addabbo texted Cuomo staffers about the statement; Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder got to Twitter. Both officials, who represent the Aqueduct property and surrounding neighborhoods, are working to ensure that Resorts World becomes one of those seven full-gaming casinos.
The governor’s proposal was open for interpretation, Addabbo said, and the already-built Racino is prime for table games. Should gaming laws pass this fall, Addabbo said the Racino’s proximity to JFK Airport makes it the prime place for further development and could build up the burgeoning area.
“There’s too many facts here that cannot be ignored to say, ‘no, we’re not doing a full-fledged casino there,’” Addabbo said. “That would be an irrational thought.”
Goldfeder likewise said future expansion at Aqueduct was crucial to job growth and economic impact in south Queens.
“Especially post-Sandy, we need to create jobs and spur, boost our economy,” he said. “And putting gaming at Aqueduct would do exactly that.”
Resorts World executives are confident the company’s partnership will continue to grow, said spokesperson Stefan Friedman. Executives also plan on continuing to generate revenue for the state, particularly for education. “We remain interested in enhancing the extremely successful partnership with New York State that has led to Resorts World’s status as the number one slot machine revenue generator in entire country and look forward to reviewing the governor’s proposal to facilitate economic development in Upstate New York,” Friedman said in a statement.
Both the senator and assemblymember said they expect the pre-developed land used for a venue that would bring more visitors to the area. Having full gaming at Resorts World would only help that cause, Goldfeder said.
“We’ve got a lot of big plans for that site and enhanced gaming would be a great anchor,” he said. “But I’m confident that, working with the governor, we’re going to come to a real conclusion that would be in the best interest of the community.”