Tag Archives: Michael Speller

Resorts World revenue up while neighboring casinos down


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

Cha-ching.

Revenue and money played at Resorts World Casino New York City is on the rise compared to a year ago, while neighboring gaming zones are seeing a drop.

In January and February 2013, the Racino had an 11-percent tax revenue increase and a 25-percent increase in amount played from the same time last year — the first full year Resorts World has been able to produce in its now 15 months of business. The combined months had $2.4 billion played, leading to $116 million in total revenue.

In return, the Racino sent almost $80 million back to the state — as always, earmarked for education and the racing industry.

The spike in numbers also comes as a surprise with a shorter February this year, as 2012 was a leap year with a 29-day month.

“Resorts World Casino New York City’s model has continued to maximize gaming revenue for New York State in a manner that has not been replicated by any other facility in the nation in our nearly year and a half of operation,” said president Michael Speller in a statement. “2013 is shaping up to be another record setting year, and we are proud to contribute this astonishing amount of revenue towards the education of New York’s students.” Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s slot revenue hot streak might be over. For February, revenue for the state’s 11 casinos was down more than 9 percent from last year — something Resorts World proponents say is in part thanks to New York gamblers staying home to bet.

Last February, there were only 10 operating casinos in the Keystone State — Valley Forge Casino Resort opened last March — and those, compared to last year, are down a combined 11.5 percent.

The success at Resorts World has proponents again saying the Racino should have full gaming, if voters approve an amendment for it this November.

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder said the upswing for Resorts World is just another component for the Racino to get full gaming – should voters approve a state amendment for it this November.

“New records set by Resorts World is further example that Genting is the right partner and Aqueduct is the right location for a larger facility and full, enhanced gaming,” he said. “We’ve got to give them the tools to continue to be successful.”

 

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Raising the stakes: Resorts World unveils VIP casino


| smosco@queenscourier.com

RESORTS AGAIN AGAIN 024w

High-rollers now have a space of their own at Resorts World Casino in South Ozone Park.

Following a grand opening that drew more than 65,000 visitors, the casino at Aqueduct Racino unveiled the remaining two floors of its new facility on December 16 – showing off high-priced amenities and big payoff games.

The new features include 2,514 additional Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) and Electronic Table Games (ETG) at the Fifth Avenue Casino, bringing the grand total to 5,000 machines. The casino also gave visitors a sneak peak at two new 250-seat fine dining restaurants with private dining rooms and balconies featuring panoramic views of the racetrack.

“We are ecstatic to open our full facility to the public today, well ahead of schedule,” said Michael Speller, President of Resorts World New York. “We have received tremendous support from patrons and our community and are thrilled to offer even more options for visitors to enjoy. These new offerings make Resorts World one of the most exciting and dynamic entertainment and dining destinations for New Yorkers and travelers alike. The enthusiasm we have seen over the past six weeks, and even more so today, is indicative of the bright future for Queens and New York State that we are proud to be a partner in developing.”

With each new opening at Resorts World, the chorus of support for full scale table gaming grows louder and louder. Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder said that bringing these games to state casinos would not only stimulate the economy, but would also add much needed jobs.

“Bringing table games to the casinos in New York is a fantastic way to stimulate our economy and draw more businesses into the state,” he said. “Doing so creates opportunities for countless jobs, increased tourism and much-needed revenue.”

Any amendment to legalize table gaming in the state would have to be approved by both houses in the legislature in two separate legislative sessions, with a general election separating them. From there, the amendment would go to voters and must be approved by a majority before becoming part of the Constitution.

For now, electronic versions of these games must suffice – and Resorts World has plenty to go around. The Fifth Avenue Casino provides a more sophisticated and luxurious gaming environment for guests, with invitation-only gaming at Crockfords Casino. These two new floors are meant to lure guests, as those who hold loyalty cards from casinos in other states will receive free play when they exchange those cards for a Resorts World loyalty card between December 19 and January 31.

As for the third floor event space, Speller said that it is the largest event space in Queens and that Resorts World is currently taking reservations for use. Dubbed the Central Park Events Center, it features 70,000-square- feet of space for all manner of events.

Although casino construction was completed four months ahead of schedule, the “Skybridge” – designed to move customers from the A-train station to the casino – is still mired in the design and construction phase. That project is expected to be completed in early spring.

“This has been a very good success story so far,” said Speller. “Not only in terms of business, but also in the thousands of jobs that have been created here in Queens.”

Resorts World’s new gaming floor set for early opening


| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Steve Mosco

A fully functional and totally revamped Aqueduct Racino is no longer a decades-long pipedream with little hope and less funding.

After a highly successful partial opening that saw thousands of gamers try their luck, the new casino in South Ozone Park is ready to reveal the rest of the facility on Friday, December 16 — a full four months ahead of schedule.

The additional space on the second floor will double the amount of Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) and Electronic Table Games (ETG), while also adding an upscale gaming option and two signature restaurants with views of the track below. Resorts World representatives also revealed a third floor, which will house the largest event space in Queens.

Resorts World president Michael Speller called the casino’s second floor an “alternative” for exclusive members who desire a higher level of play and service.

“The main difference is the finishes and it’s more comfortable,” said Speller, adding that Crockfords Casino, an invitation-only room on the second floor, will offer high stakes gamers a chance to gamble amid an opulent setting. “It’s a very upscale and private gaming experience.”

The upscale casino is designed to lure out-of-state gamers to Resorts World — where Speller hopes they will spend locally.

“They’re [gamers] going to Jersey. They’re going to Vegas. They’re going to Connecticut. They’re going to Pennsylvania,” he said. “That’s all money that’s leaving the state.”

Although casino construction is moving swiftly, the same cannot be said for the “Skybridge,” which is designed to move customers from the A-train station to the casino without stepping outdoors. That development is moving at a slower pace and has been pushed back to early spring.

That doesn’t seem to be slowing down business, as Resorts World raked in more than $50 million since its opening. Speller said that since opening business has leveled off, but the customers are still coming in at a regular clip.

“This has been a very good success story so far,” he said. “Not only in terms of business, but also in the thousands of jobs that have been created here in Queens.”

Speller said that there are no plans to buy additional land for hotels, but he noted that if full scale table gaming was brought to the state Resorts World would be ready to accommodate.

“We can adjust for table games rather quickly,” he said. “We certainly support enhanced gaming in the state and we look forward to seeing that unfold next year.”

Resorts World opens as Governor Cuomo pursues full scale gaming


| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/PHOTO BY STEVE MOSCO

Queens gamers will soon have more room to play at Resorts World Casino in South Ozone Park.

The former site of Aqueduct Racino, which received a much-needed facelift this year, will open its final phase on December 16 — four months ahead of schedule.

Resorts World’s full scale opening couldn’t be timelier, as Governor Andrew Cuomo said on December 4 that he plans to pursue gambling legalization in the state as a way to spur economic and job growth.

Laying out what he called a jobs-creation agenda for his second year, Cuomo said, “We should pursue a comprehensive gaming plan — recognizing the reality that New York is already in the gaming business. Through this plan we can promote job creation and recapture revenue that is currently being lost to other states.”

New York Gaming Association President James Featherstonhaugh said that the governor’s proposal could very well help to reverse the state’s economic fortunes.

“We are pleased to hear of [the governor’s] support for legalizing enhanced commercial gaming in New York State, which will create tens of thousands of much-needed jobs, generate hundreds of millions in additional state revenues and stimulate significant private sector investment,” he said.

Resorts World officials, eager to lure Atlantic City customers to their establishment, are offering guests who have loyalty cards from casinos outside of New York free gaming in exchange for a Resorts World loyalty card. Guests can take advantage of this from December 19 through January 31.

“We have been truly humbled by the response of New Yorkers and tourists alike and we thank them for their ongoing support and patronage,” said Michael Speller, president of Resorts World New York. “Due to the hard work of our 1,500-person staff, we’re confident that we will be able to continue providing the highest level of service to our customers as we unveil the second stage of our facility.”

Among the elements set to open this month include the remaining 2,514 Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) and Electronic Table Games (ETGs), bringing the grand total to 5,000 gaming stations. The facility will also open two new 250-seat fine dining restaurants, as well as the largest event space in Queens.

The new casino space, dubbed 5th Avenue Casino, will provide a more upscale space for gamers to try their luck, with rewards for Silver, Gold and Platinum club members. Genting Palace, one of the two new restaurants, will offer Chinese cuisine on a terrace overlooking the racetrack. The other new restaurant is RW Prime, a steakhouse.

Resorts World Casino scored big during opening week


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Resorts World

Resorts World Casino, the rejuvenated Aqueduct Racino in South Ozone Park, hit the jackpot during its first 10 days as it pulled in about $15 million in net profits, while gamblers bet almost $178 million.

This is great news for New York State, as about $1 million of the casino’s daily revenue goes to Albany to support state education programs and the horse racing industry. A portion of the money also goes to state lottery, while the casino operator keeps less than a third.

A Resorts World spokesperson said that large crowds were expected for the opening because of the novelty factor, but the education department and the racing industry stands to benefit from such novelty.

The company also said that it plans to hire an additional 150 workers, bringing the total number of employees to 1,500 — a 76 percent increase from Resorts World’s original estimates. Resorts World Casino New York President Michael Speller said the hiring of additional workers demonstrates that they are constantly looking for ways to better serve Queens.

“We have said from the beginning that we will continue to look for opportunities to create even more jobs and are thrilled to be able to do that so soon after our first phase of opening,” he said. “With our expanded staff in place, our second phase of opening in December will be a tremendous opportunity for visitors to experience the full extent of what Resorts World has to offer.”

The second phase of the casino’s opening, coming in December, will bring additional Video Lottery Terminals and Electronic Table Games, as well as a 130,000-square-foot events center — which Resorts World has called the largest event space in the borough.

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.

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.