Tag Archives: gambling

Bayside resident prepares for national poker tournament


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Benjamin Fang

Michael Golub is going all in, with a prize pool set at an estimated $5 million to be had.

“I’m a fiend for poker, man,” the Bayside resident said soon after finding out that he will be playing in a poker tournament in Los Angeles against hundreds of “heavyweights,” as he puts it.

Golub, 66, won an online poker game on Mother’s Day against thousands of other players in a tournament hosted by an online member site of World Poker Tournament. But since online gambling is illegal in New York, the poker company offers prizes instead and Golub’s was an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles to play in the Season XIII World Poker Tournament.

“All the big boys will be there,” he said. “But I’m coming back to Bayside with that money, baby.”

Riding a wave of success in the poker syndicate with victories across the poker land, Golub is known by other players as Diamond Mike, a reference to the exorbitant amount of diamonds he wears during live games. The diamonds are accentuated by the all black clothes he often dons. In his left ear, a tiffany diamond hangs.

Golub didn’t always have such valuable jewelry. He grew up in the Bronx and as a child he played poker to make extra money. But it was only in the last five years he began to seriously play and he credits his recent successes on his 22 years of experience with the NYPD.

After several years of working in Bronx as a beat cop and then as a narcotics officer in Brooklyn North, Golub said he was promoted to third grade detective.

“They called me Homicide Mike because my forte was getting confessions out of people,” he said. “And that helps me with poker now to get a read on my opponents.”

Golub was a detective in the 70s and 80s and he and his partner pierced their ears at the time, something that Golub said police members didn’t do at the time. His nickname has changed and the value of the contents in his left ear lobe has gone up. The stakes have changed but he still employs the same set of skills in both fields.

“I’ll get to a game early and listen to the conversations other players are having. Can I exploit him? What’s his image?” he said. “But in the end, I’m just partying my ass off.”

 

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New York’s first full gaming legislature passed


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Steve Mosco

Full casino gaming could be in the cards for NYS, as the first round of legislation, in favor of expanding the state’s regulations, was passed by both houses.

Senator Joseph Addabbo, a member of the Senate’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, released a statement following the announcement of the legislature’s passing. Although Addabbo was absent for this process on protest, he supported the passage of New York State Gaming legislation.

“It is a step closer to having our residents vote on a referendum that could bring full gaming to the state,” said Addabbo. “It is a step closer for my constituents to have thousands of additional job opportunities at Resorts World. It is a step closer for our local communities, businesses, along with city and state governments to realize a greater potential for revenue growth.”

While Addabbo applauds this move forward, he advises that future maneuvers be done cautiously, utilizing community participation.

“I am an advocate for community input on these issues and feel most people would want their voices heard before any plans are implemented,” said Addabbo. “I look forward to working for my constituents and hearing their concerns on this issue.”

Stefan Friedman, a spokesperson from Resorts World Casino, says the passing of this legislature is a “significant step” towards full commercial gaming.

According to Friedman, laws to legalize full gaming have gone through the first round of negotiations several times in the past, but were halted before completely approved. Friedman claimed that in order for it to become legalized, two separate legislatures need to be approved – the second of which will not be decided on until 2013.

Friedman said Resorts World is eager to expand its operations if enhanced gaming is allowed. He estimates the expansion will create hundreds of additional jobs and garner millions in additional revenue – funds that are currently being spent out of state in nearby spots like Atlantic City, New Jersey where table gaming is available.

According to Friedman, between $3.1 billion to $5 billion leaves the state every year for entertainment and gaming in cites outside NYS.

Resorts World Opens


| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Steve Mosco

South Ozone Park’s Aqueduct Racino, reborn as Resorts World Casino New York City, officially opened its doors to an eager throng of thousands of gamers on Friday, October 28.

Casino representatives and elected officials were on hand at the former Aqueduct Racino for the ribbon cutting, and to welcome those who came to play on opening day – a line which wrapped around the building, leaving visitors with at least a two hour wait.

“I can’t wait to get in,” said Yaneet Chandra, a South Ozone Park resident who arrived at the casino at around 10 a.m. to get to the head of the line. “Queens really needed a place like this.”

And not just for gaming reasons. The casino arrives amid promises of jobs for the immediate community – and according to officials, Resorts World delivered on that promise. State Senator Joseph Addabbo said that the new facility will deal the community, and Queens at large, a much needed economic boost.

Click here for a photo gallery of the grand opening.

“To see this underused land become an economic engine is just incredible,” he said. “This is a new era for the community and a win for all.”

Michael Speller, president of Resorts World New York, said that the casino will provide thousands of full time jobs to people who needed work the most.

“We are thrilled to welcome the public to this extraordinary new entertainment venue, which will permanently employ 1,350 New Yorkers, of which 89 percent are either minority or women,” Speller said at the grand opening, which occurred exactly one year to the day of the initial groundbreaking ceremony. “With 41,000 applicants for these 1,350 jobs, Resorts World New York City will work hard with the state and leadership to find more ways to create even more jobs – as many as tens of thousands – on our site as soon as possible. Today’s grand opening was the chance for our employees to share with the first of many guests the truly unique experience of Resorts World.”

First arrivals entered the racetrack casino under the “Light of Nations” sculpture – featuring 193 individual hand-blown glass bulbs representing each of the United Nations member countries around the globe and highlighting international essence of Queens itself.

The first casino in the facility to open – dubbed Times Square Casino – features 2,485 Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) and Electronic Table Games (ETG). The casino floor also features Bar 360 Lounge at the heart of the gaming floor and myriad culinary offerings reflecting the diversity of the borough.

Phase two of construction, to be completed by the end of the year, will unveil 5th Avenue Casino and Crockfords Casino on the second floor with 2,515 additional VLT and ETG. Also on the second floor will be the Central Park Events Center – the largest event space in Queens.

As the doors swung open and the first guests began to pour in, their reactions were all the same – eyes wide as saucers, mouths agape. Some were even already pulling money out of their wallets as they stepped onto the escalator.

“We just really want to have fun,” said Reggie Haughton. “Times are tough, yes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t come out and enjoy ourselves. We deserve it.”

For more information on Resorts World, visit www.rwnewyork.com.

Community complaints about Racino addressed


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan Patrick Jenkins of Resorts World New York City addressed residents concerns about the Racino.

As the big debut of the city’s first casino rounds the corner, several dozens of nearby homeowners voiced their concerns at the Ozone Park Civic Association’s monthly meeting.

The civic group and more than 50 locals welcomed guest speaker Patrick Jenkins, a representative of Resorts World New York City, on Tuesday, October 18. Jenkins is also the main liaison between the company and the surrounding community.

“It’s been a long year, but it’s been a good year. The first thing I want to do is say thank you to the people who live in the shadow of Aqueduct,” Jenkins said. “You’re right next door, in the backyard and it’s been a great experience working with the community and leaders. We look forward to being a great neighbor.”

Jenkins said there may be “growing pains” in the future, but the key to thwarting potential issues is by keeping communication strong.

The majority of complaints residents made were about parking problems once the Racino opens. Several residents expressed concerns that the neighborhood would turn into a “parking deluxe” for gamers looking to park on residential blocks to save a few bucks — especially after hearing news from Jenkins that there would be a charge for parking.

The amount to be charged is not yet determined, but Jenkins said the “nominal fee” would primarily prevent people from using the parking lot to take the train. He also said — but could not verify yet — that the company may reimburse parkers with player’s cards to be redeemed inside.

“We know this is New York City. People will do whatever to save on a parking fee,” said Betty Braton, chair of Community Board 10. “We’re not going to see the full effects for a while. Let’s see what the patterns are going to be, then we’ll know exactly what we have to address. As problems develop, we will work on them. Just like when a new grocery store opens, we’re going to see the worst of traffic and parking problems.”

Although Jenkins said Resorts World hired 1,150 people since June, several residents complained that after being interviewed several times for jobs, they did not hear back from the company. Some accused Resorts World of not hiring from within the community as was promised.

“I’ve been here since last August and from day one, it’s been stressed by the company that we would hire from within the community,” Jenkins said. “That’s been reiterated and pounded home by every civic leader that we’ve spoken to. It’s something we talk about on a consistent basis, and the company is committed to that. I don’t know the exact statistics, but I do know that a lot of people from the area were hired.”

Jenkins said the company has received more than 40,000 job applications since June. He said they were still in the “arduous” hiring process of going through thousands of applications and said they were “no where near finished.”

The first phase of the Racino will open on October 28. Civic leaders said Jenkins and Resorts World representatives were “extremely responsive and aware” of the community’s concerns.

“This company has got to be one of the best that we’ve worked with. It has been a pleasure working with people who are actually concerned about the community,” Braton said. “Good things come to those who wait. It’s going to be a beautiful addition to our community.”

Resorts World Opening Announced


| smosco@queenscourier.com

They’re off to the races.

Resorts World Casino New York City will open its doors at 1 p.m. on Friday, October 28, kicking off a new era for the former site of the Aqueduct Racino in South Ozone Park.

Michael Speller, president of Resorts World, said that the facility will offer tourists and New Yorkers who typically visit casinos in other states a world-class gaming, dining and entertainment experience.

“This project has created more than 1,350 jobs and together we’ve built a truly state-of-the-art entertainment facilitiy for the borough of Queens and beyond,” said Speller. “The grand opening is the result of the vision and hard work of so many different people – both our unbelievably hardworking construction crews that have seen the project through from the beginning and our top-notch permanent staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure we are able to introduce the very best of what ResortsWorld represents to New York City today.”

In terms of games, the initial opening will boast 2,485 Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) and Electronic Table Games (ETGs). These games will be housed at Resorts World’s Times Square Casino on the first floor. The space will also offer visitors global dining selections, including Aqueduct Buffet, Wolfgang Puck Express, Stage Deli and Queens Burger.

Moving forward, Resorts World will unveil other casino features in the next two months. The facility will pull back the curtain on the 5th Avenue Casino and Crockfords Casino on the second floor, as well as the Central Park Events Center. These will feature upscale dining options RW Prime Steakhouse and the Chinese-themed Genting Palace – and will also hoouse 2,515 additional VLTs and ETGs.

Resorts World and its new amenities will be easily accessible to visitors by public transportation. The Q37 bus will stop on property and the A Train stops at the Conduit subway station. By the end of 2011, a new covered skybridge connecting Resorts World directly to the Aqueduct subway station will be fully operational.

Resorts World Casino is part of the New York Lottery’s video lottery program. All gaming machines are supplied by the Lottery and are controlled by a statewide computer system operated by the lottery.

More information on RWNY is available at www.rwnewyork.com.