At the Aqueduct Race Track

Resorts World New York City unveils $5B expansion plans as part of downstate casino license bid

Reading time 1:57 min

The Resorts World New York City slots parlor at the Aqueduct Race Track unveiled its $5 billion redevelopment plans on Thursday. The move comes as the venue seeks to secure one of three downstate casino licenses to offer table games such as blackjack, baccarat, poker, and craps.

In addition to the expanded gaming offerings, the plan includes a 7,000-seat entertainment venue to host global superstars. According to the company, the development plan is projected to create 10,000 mostly union construction and permanent service jobs combined.

The plans also call to create retail spaces, 1,600 new hotel rooms for casino patrons, 30 new opportunities for food and beverage vendors, as well as 3,000 units of employee housing. The casino floor itself would be expanded to 350,000 square feet, which officials say will turn it into the largest gambling facility in the world. Moreover, the casino has said it would include 10 acres of park space and improved transit options to John F. Kennedy Airport.

Render of the proposed concert hall expansion

Resorts World at Aqueduct opened in 2011 after obtaining a state license to offer video lottery terminal slots and other electronic betting games. Genting, the Malaysian gaming giant that owns the Aqueduct betting facility, had always envisioned expanding the casino to offer table games.

“When we stood here more than a dozen years ago to break ground on Resorts World New York City, our vision extended well beyond that already-ambitious original plan — today, that vision can soon become a reality,” Robert DeSalvio, president of Genting America East, said in a statement.

The casino giant is putting up $50 million to cover start-up costs for a Genting Innovation Campus, which includes a sports academy named in honor of Queens basketball legend Kenny "The Jet" Smith, who won two NBA championships with the Houston Rockets. 

"Resorts World came to me with a clear goal of fostering tomorrow’s athletes, student-athletes, and leaders both on and off the court," Smith, the LeFrak City native and Archbishop Molloy alum said in a statement provided to The New York Post.

"Their investment in this Academy will help us teach the next generation the nuances of the game on and off the court, as well as the social, economic, and cultural impact of sports. I’m thrilled to partner with them to improve the borough that raised me and take it to the next level," he added.      

Other bidders seeking a state gambling license include billionaire Mets owner Steve Cohen, who last November unveiled a planned casino complex including a hotel and music venue dubbed "Metropolitan Park" next to the baseball team’s Citi Field.

There’s also stiff competition from other developers and casino operators who have joined forces with proposals to build a casino in Times Square, Hudson Yards, Coney Island, and possibly Ferry Point in The Bronx, where gaming operator Bally’s replaced the Trump Organization as operator of the golf course. 

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