Tag Archives: resorts world

Hamilton Beach playground hit with graffiti, quickly cleaned


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of New Hamilton Beach Civic Association Facebook page

They struck again.

Graffiti vandals tagged up a newly renovated Hamilton Beach playground before it officially opened.

“I was shocked that this happen,” said Roger Gendron, president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association. “I think we all knew it could happen, but for it to happen before the playground officially opened is unbelievable.”

On Sept. 19, the vandal spray-painted graffiti on the slide that was just installed in the park. The slide is attached to a brand-new play set that Resorts World Casino shelled out $40,000 to install in the playground on 104th Street at the edge of Hamilton Beach. Graffiti was a major problem with the old playground that once sat there, making it an eyesore for the neighborhood.

THE COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Because of where the park is situated, it is hard for residents to keep surveillance on it. Houses are only on one side and they are separated by a street, handball courts and a basketball court, leaving the playground as an easier target for vandals.

But Gendron said he would not let this new playground set become what the old was one, especially after Resorts World picked up the whole tab to install it.

“The paint will be removed this time and every other time it happens,” Gendron said.

And it has.

THE COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata

THE COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata

Auxiliary police officers from the 106th Precinct quickly repainted the slide two days after the vandals struck. They have been a huge presence in the neighborhood when it comes to covering up graffiti.

Gendron said he was humbled by their kind act and hopes that everyone in the neighborhood will join in helping to keep the park in good shape for the children from now on.

Resorts World Casino did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Resorts World closes buffet, lets go of more than 100 employees


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Resorts World Casino shut the doors to its Aqueduct Buffet on Monday, and in turn on about 175 employees.

“I thought it was a drastic move, certainly one that could be reconsidered down the line,” said State Senator Joseph Addabbo.

The buffet closed on Jan. 6 after “trying to make it work for two years, and just couldn’t,” said a spokesperson for the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council (HTC).

“We have made the difficult decision to close the Aqueduct Buffet, which never caught on with our customers and has consistently lost money,” said Ed Farrell, Resorts World president. “We sincerely regret the impact this closure has on the buffet’s employees and are working closely with the HTC to ease this transition.”

The HTC is in contract with Resorts World and has begun helping the laid-off employees find new work.

In the interim, the buffet workers will receive up to five weeks severance pay, depending on how long they were employed at the casino and what job they did. They will also get 120 days of extended family medical coverage and preferential hiring in other Resorts World departments, according to the spokesperson.

The employees did not receive notice the buffet was closing, but the spokesperson said the “federal WARN notice,” the worker adjustment and retraining notification act, does not apply in this situation. The buffet had to have more than a third of Resorts World employees to receive forewarning.

The HTC will be meeting with the laid-off workers in groups and individually if needed, and Addabbo said he will be meeting with both the HTC and Farrell.

The state senator said if he had known the buffet were suffering, he would have liked to look at alternatives to closing it entirely.

“We see Resorts World as a job generator,” he said. “It has great potential. If it’s going to reach that maximum potential in creating jobs, this is not the way to go.”

 

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East Coast Car Association keeps ‘cruising’


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Mike Bilski

For 12 years, the East Coast Car Association (ECCA) hosted an annual Cruise Night that showcased antique cars and raised funds for St. Mary’s Hospital for Children, all in a Forest Hills McDonald’s parking lot.

But this year, Mike Bilski of the ECCA was told McDonald’s could not host the Cruise Night because of corporate policies. With that, he and other members went looking around for a new venue.

“There we were, we had no Cruise Night,” he said. “We were trying all of the churches [but] nobody wanted us.”

Enter State Senator Joseph Addabbo. One night, Bilski was driving back from a friend’s house when he passed Resorts World Casino.

“I thought to myself, ‘[that lot] is empty,’ he said.

Bilski and the ECCA crew were referred to Addabbo, who met with Resorts World and worked out a deal. Now, the casino holds the Cruise Night every Tuesday from 5 to 9 p.m. in its VIP parking lot.

“For years, that association and its members have not only displayed some of the most beautiful cars of past generations, but they have also made substantial contributions to the community, especially the younger residents,” Addabbo said.

Bilski said the casino also donates to St. Mary’s, which was happy to see the ECCA’s nonprofit endeavors continue.

Since the VIP lot is larger than the ECCA’s previous home in Forest Hills, the Cruise Night can now accommodate more vehicles. The events have featured as many as 100 custom and antique cars and 50 motorcycles along with pick-up trucks and antique bicycles.

“We’re able to raise more money, and we’re getting a very diverse crowd and a very diverse range of cars,” Bilski said. “It’s not just antique cars anymore. We’re getting a lot of imports, low-riders and tuner cars.”

Attendees must contribute a $3 donation to each Cruise Night. The event will go on every Tuesday through November at Resorts World.

On Sunday, August 4 they will host an additional Cruise Night at Maspeth Federal and another the following day at Atlas Park.

 

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Pols push to make mixed martial arts legal in New York


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

A big fight for an increasingly popular sport is underway.

Mixed martial arts (MMA) could become legal in New York later this year, but there are still a few jabs advocates have to block.

Nine Queens assemblymembers sponsored a bill that would make the sport legal. The bill, sponsored by two legislators from Queens, passed 47-15 in the Senate.

The Assembly must pass the bill for it to become law, though the body voted not to remove the MMA ban last May. That left New York as one of a few states where professional MMA is illegal, though amateurs are allowed to fight here.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White has repeatedly blamed the Culinary Workers Union based in Nevada for blocking mixed martial arts in New York. His partners, Lorenzo and Frank Feritta, own Station Casinos in Las Vegas. Culinary workers have lobbied against the non-union establishment.

In an April 25 interview with ESPN, White said he wanted to see mixed martial arts in New York, but was resigned to waiting for the vote.

White said a UFC presence in the city would lead to about $600,000 in ticket taxes and an overall economic impact of $60-100 million. He is hopeful a fight will come at Madison Square Garden in the future.

“We’re doing fights all over the world,” he said. “Do I want to be here? Yes.”

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder met with representatives from the UFC last week. He said legalizing pro MMA would tap into a revenue source nearly every other state has. Goldfeder added that no one opposing the legalization has reached out to him.

“There’s a huge upside with no downside. We currently have the access to MMA” through cable television, he said. “Now we can take advantage of some of the benefits as well.”

Goldfeder said he is confident the assembly will pass the bill before the current legislative session ends in June.

He added that Resorts World Casino New York City could potentially host UFC fights. While it is not as big as Madison Square Garden or the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, it has hosted professional boxing matches on the third floor.

Requests for comment from Unite Here, the nationwide wing of the culinary union, were not answered by press time.

 

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Op-Ed: Recovery through economic activity and investment


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY ASSEMBLYMEMBER PHILLIP GOLDFEDER

Last year, the legislature passed a bill, as the first step in the process to amending the state constitution, allowing enhanced gaming in up to seven locations across the state. While this was only the beginning, it was a huge victory for Queens families who have already benefited from the economic development and jobs created by Resorts World at Aqueduct and realize the potential for growth. In his annual state of the state address, Governor Andrew Cuomo shared a vision for the future of our state and I look forward to our continued partnership and collaboration in an effort to boost every community across the state.

In southern Queens and Rockaway, Sandy has left a path of unimaginable devastation and destruction and it will take the coordinated efforts of the public and private sector to fully recover. Now, more than ever, we need to find new and creative ways to help our small businesses to create good-paying jobs and rejuvenate our local economy. Creating a full-scale, enhanced gaming casino at Resorts World would not only increase revenues for the community and the state, but the impact would be felt immediately in terms of economic activity and job creation for southern Queens and Rockaway families.

Expanding gaming also provides opportunities for continued investment in southern Queens and Rockaway infrastructure. I continue to be a staunch advocate for the complete restoration of the abandoned Rockaway Beach Rail Line, as it would be the right solution to not only encourage economic development but to increase transit options for all of Queens’ families. Created at the turn of the century, the Rockaway Beach Rail Line, also known as White Pot Junction, was owned and operated by the Long Island Rail Road. Strategically placed within a major network of trains throughout New York City, the rail line provided residents with safe, affordable and expedient access to other parts of Queens and the rest of the city.

There is no need to look any farther than Resorts World at Aqueduct, a proven location for enhanced gaming and reliable community partner. Since their first year anniversary, Resorts World has set records in slot machine gaming, beating out the casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, contributing millions of dollars towards the education of our children. Further, Resorts World has been a valuable neighbor that has worked hand-in-hand with elected leaders, the NYPD and our community to ensure a seamless development at the Aqueduct facility. Resorts World is the perfect example of partnership and we need to give them the tools necessary to continue to succeed so that our families and small businesses may continue to recover and become even more resilient.

In addition to their success as a casino, Resorts World is committed to a long term partnership with our community and has continued their positive relationship through vital investments in our local organizations and standing on the front lines of Sandy relief and recovery. Given the right tools, Resorts World will continue to exceed every expectation, expand on our local workforce and stimulate our local economy, in addition to creating opportunities for the continued success and recovery of Queens.

Goldfeder represents the 23rd Assembly District including Ozone Park, Lindenwood, Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaways.

 

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Business owners get help after Sandy


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

With some of their shops damaged or destroyed by Superstorm Sandy and unsure where to go for help, business owners were finally able to find out what options are available to them.

Several agencies set up camp at Resorts World New York City on Friday, November 16 to help owners of south Queens get the money they need to reopen. They included New York Business Solutions, the Department of Labor, and the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) also had a table at the forum and had a list of relief options available to proprietors. Mark Randle, a public information officer for the SBA, said that there were several loan options available at rates as low as 1.69 percent with repayment periods as long as 30 years.

Randle encouraged those who lost some or most of their business to apply. Business owners become eligible for more grants by applying for an SBA loan, he said.

“I can’t urge you strongly enough to go through the process and apply,” he said.

And while many shops and businesses were damaged by Sandy, others may have suffered only economic damage because power had been shut off. SBA has working capital loans for business owners to accommodate these needs.

The deadline to apply to these SBA loans is 60 days after the storm struck the area.

Nicola Campbell, who opened her restaurant, Chef Mom Grill & Bakery in the Rockaways less than a year ago, had a significant amount of damage because of the storm. A wall in the eatery was severely damaged, Campbell said, and most of the equipment in the restaurant had been destroyed.

The single mom of three said she didn’t have flood insurance, only general liability insurance on the restaurant. Because she had been open for less than a year, she thought she had few loan alternatives. But after sitting down with an SBA representative, Campbell had a few options to get her business back up and running.

“As soon as I get home, I will be on top of this because I really do need it,” she said. “This is my only income.”

And although there is a long road ahead for many business owners, some were reassured that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Harry Wells, director of CUNY York’s Small Business Development Center and the panel’s moderator, told owners that, while things may seem bad right now, there are possibilities and there is promise down the road.

“I’m not trying to belittle the situation,” he said. “But a lot of the times, there’s gold at the end of the rainbow.”

Weekend Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The Afternoon Roundup

No bail for accused ‘cannibal cop’

Alleged “cannibal cop” Gilberto Valle will have to stew behind bars a while longer after a federal judge denied his request to get out on bail. Valle — who the feds say had been cooking up a plan to kidnap, rape, torture and eat as many as 100 women — was not in court, but the lawyer for one of his alleged victims was. Read more: NY Post

David Petraeus resigns as CIA director, admits extramarital affair; reports point to his biographer being the other woman

David Petraeus has given new meaning to the term “being embedded” in Afghanistan. In a stunning turn from hero to heel, the CIA director trashed his storied career by having a top-secret affair with his biographer. Paula Broadwell — who has called Petraeus “a very high-energy person” who is “relentless in everything he does” was outed Friday by Slate.com as the disgraced general’s other woman. Read more: Daily News

DOE: Some relocated schools to open in regular buildings Tuesday

Several schools forced to be relocated by Sandy are expected to reopen in their regular buildings Tuesday, according to the New York City Department of Education. Read more: NY1

Hurricane Sandy recovery workers save restaurant employees from burning fire

Three employees at an East Side restaurant were burned — one badly — Friday after a worker spilled gasoline in the kitchen and it ignited, fire officials and witnesses said. A chef, busboy and waitress were all injured about 10 p.m. at Eno restaurant on First Ave. at E. 58th St. Witnesses said the workers’ arms caught fire, as did their clothing. Read more: Daily News

‘Boozed-up’ Brooklyn ADA busted after Brooklyn Bridge attack: sources

An allegedly boozed-up Brooklyn assistant district attorney was arrested after he attacked an EMS worker early this morning on the Brooklyn Bridge, police sources said. EMS spotted Michael Jaccarino, 30, walking across the bridge intoxicated shortly before 1 a.m. and tried to bring him to Beth Israel Hospital, sources said. Read more: NY Post

Aqueduct racino rakes in dough despite Superstorm Sandy’s wrath

The Aqueduct racino’s earning power appears to be hurricane proof. The gambling hub operated by Resorts World Casino New York City raked in more than $8 million during the week that the city was under siege from Superstorm Sandy, according to recent State Lottery figures. Read more: Daily News

 

OpEd: Happy 1st Anniversary in Queens, Resorts World


| brennison@queenscourier.com

By State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr.

A year ago this week, the Queens community came together to welcome Resorts World Casino New York City to the borough. One year later, we have 1,750 new jobs, $410 million in additional tax revenue, and an anchor business in Queens that is partnering with local business both in joint marketing plans and vendor agreements, helping them to thrive and grow. Resorts World has been a tremendous partner to the Queens community and the impact it’s having on our local economy will only grow in the years to come.

As a destination attraction, Resorts World Casino has brought millions of visitors to Queens, who would otherwise travel to Connecticut, Atlantic City and elsewhere for gaming. In doing so, the casino has been able to recapture millions of dollars in revenue for New York City, New York State, and for the state’s education coffers.

At the same time, Resorts World Casino has made a commitment to our local workforce by not only providing good-paying jobs, but by developing careers for the thousands of Queens residents who work there. Over the last year, they have promoted more than 130 employees and have provided opportunities for hundreds of others to transfer within the company to develop their professional skills.

Resorts World Casino was the single largest job creator in New York State in 2011 and made an extensive commitment to the hiring of a diverse workforce that represented the Queens community.

It’s also important that in addition to the economic shot-in-the-arm Resorts World Casino has provided to the borough, the company has also made a significant commitment to partner with and support our local community organizations, which represent the social fabric of Queens. In making this commitment, the company is setting a public example of corporate responsibility that we are hopeful other companies will emulate.

While last year has broken every expectation we have had for tax revenue, job creation, and visitors to the casino, we fully expect next year to be even bigger. As the State Senator for the area, I intend to continue working with the operators of Resorts World Casino to ensure that the residents and businesses of the community and throughout Queens continue to benefit from hosting this first-rate, professional business.

Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. is the State Senator for the 15th District, now representing in whole or in part, the Queens neighborhoods of Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, South Ozone Park, Glendale, Middle Village, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood, Maspeth, Sunnyside, Woodside, Elmhurst, Forest Hills and Rego Park.

 

Resorts World celebrates first year


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

COURIER FILE PHOTO/Photo by Steve Mosco

A wager on a South Ozone Park casino a year ago turned out to be a good bet for jobs, and for all of Queens.

A year after Resorts World Casino New York City opened its doors, there has been a lot to talk about. In that time, the Racino has seen millions go in and out, several boxing matches and concerts, and even a robbery.

“Resorts World Casino has been an incredible success overall for Queens, for New York City and also the state as a whole,” said Resorts World president Michael Speller.

The Racino has sent more than $410 million in tax revenue back to the state toward education, the racing industry and other state-run programs. The casino, and parent company Genting, is committed to giving back to the community and the state where it’s found a home, Speller said.

“Clearly [it is] a great outcome for education; a great outcome to the state,” he said, adding that of the tax revenue sent back, roughly $263 million, was earmarked for education. “It’s been a great experience. We’ve been accepted by the community, we’ve worked hard with the community and it’s been a great experience over the last year.”

More than a million people walked through the Racino’s doors in July, two months after Genting announced Resorts World had beaten out Atlantic City and Las Vegas for slot machine revenue.

In June, however, a man later identified by the Queens District Attorney’s office as Kevin Lides, entered the second floor and handed a note to a teller. Lides was able to make off with about $63,000, but was caught just a month later in northwest Pennsylvania — in part from the surveillance system at Resorts World and collaboration with the 106th Precinct.

Speller said the casino’s security staff has worked closely with the 106th since inception and the working relationship continues daily.

The future of Resorts World has even crossed in to the hotly contested Senate District 15 election. Both incumbent Senator Joseph Addabbo and Councilmember Eric Ulrich said at a recent debate they believe in full gaming at all of New York’s seven racetrack casinos. At the same time, Addabbo said he hoped as the number of jobs at the Racino increases, the number of Queens-based employees there should as well. Ulrich said if gaming laws in the state were to expand, Resorts World must continue to be a responsible neighbor.

Resorts World currently employs just over 1,750 people, Speller said, about 1,100 of whom live in Queens. Executives promised last year that 70 percent of its employees would be based in Queens, though that was based on a projected 850 employees.

“Creating jobs is a big focus for everybody,” Speller said. “Obviously we continue to work on that. It’s a commitment that is not a one-time commitment. We continue to do whatever we can to improve on that.”

Throughout the entire growth of Resorts World, the community has been involved.

Liaisons from Resorts World attend the monthly Community Board 10 meetings, and executives meet with the board once a month to hear community feedback, Speller said.

“So it’s been a very collaborative and successful relationship between us and CB 10,” he said. “They tell us what the things are we need to be looking at and we respond to that.”

Board chair Elizabeth Braton likewise said Resorts World has lived up to all of its commitments to the surrounding neighborhoods, and had been responsive with any issues or comments.

“Their community relations are excellent,” she said. “They have ensured they have had a person available to just about any organization in the area to attend their meetings, and listen to people’s concerns and answer questions.”

But aside from enhanced gaming, which Speller says could find a home on the Racino’s open third floor, there is still more development on the horizon. Talks between the state and Genting for what would have been the nation’s largest convention center broke down in June, leaving plans at a standstill and sending developers back to the drawing board. Talks for a convention center, or other development at Aqueduct, would be held off until 2013, when voters will decide on proposed gaming law changes.

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, a proponent of Resorts World and more jobs and business in the region, said plans for Aqueduct were not done yet. In order to help south Queens continue to grow as a destination in the borough, Goldfeder said the state needed to give Resorts World and Genting the tools it needed to grow, particularly full gaming and better, faster transportation.

Army reserve officer, boxer fights for a cause


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Billy Rennison

As Army Reserve Captain Boyd “The Rainmaker” Melson walked toward the ring, there was probably only one thing on his mind.

The middleweight pro boxer was laser-focused on his impending match against Yolexcy Leiva at Resorts World Casino New York City.

During the first five rounds of the Brooklyn-born, West Point graduate’s bout against Leiva, Melson meticulously calculated every punch. Somewhere in the third round, he delivered a right to Leiva that seemed to stun the Cuban-born boxer.

Then, the sixth bell rang and the final round started: Melson looked like a new man. He danced around the ring, followed through on his punches and began to take over.

Now boasting a pro record of 10-1 since 2010, Melson wasn’t just fighting for money, or to add on his record. Melson donates all of his winnings to justadollarplease.org. The charity raises money for stem cell research through umbilical cords to benefit wheelchair bound people who have suffered serious spinal cord injuries.

Melson also made clear that this was not a charity he “just jumped on,” but instead something extremely near and dear to his heart. Melson’s friend Christan Zaccagnino became paralyzed as a young girl following a diving accident. The pair met when he was still a cadet at West Point and since then Melson has donated a great deal of his time to helping find a cure for Zaccagnino.

His charitable efforts brought him to Dr. Wise Young, a researcher at Rutgers University who has been working on stem cell research in umbilical cords for years.

Tied to these efforts are veterans, who hold a special place in the heart of the still-ranking officer.

“You become a prisoner in your body,” he said, referring to soldiers who have returned home due to spinal cord injuries suffered in combat. “You just start watching people leave you because you’re a burden to them.”

Based out of Fort Totten, Melson juggles his duties as a reserve officer along with working at Johnson & Johnson and training as a professional boxer. In essence, it’s time management, the 5’10” middleweight says, and credits his boss, David McEntire, for being understanding.

In order to keep himself fit, Melson said he will normally pack his training clothes with him, run during his lunch break and get back to work. He’ll then sleep on the train ride home before going to work out and spar.

Before enrolling in West Point, Melson had no experience with the sweet science, he said.

Dr. Ray Barone, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, has taught boxing courses — required for male cadets — at West Point since 1999. It was in one of the required boxing classes that he saw potential in Melson.

“I saw him in class and said you might want to go out for the West Point boxing team,” Barone said. “When I saw him in class, he obviously had talent and picked up quick.”

Barone went on to say that Melson developed a dedication to the sport, which he developed rapidly since he trained any time possible.

“He was a quick learner, a quick study,” Barone said. “When you weren’t working with him he was working on his own.”

Melson said his inspiration to move forward with boxing though, was the personal standards a fighter has to hold him or herself to.

“The idea of relying on yourself, the idea that you’re competing in boxing…I think in one-on-one competition you have a chance to compete with yourself much more frequently than almost any other sport,” said Melson, who is admittedly his own harshest critic. “Even though it’s against other opponents, you’re always trying to see how much better you can do for yourself.”

But what Melson says is one of the driving forces to his fighting is what he’s really fighting for: raising money and awareness to help those in need.

“I think about, when I’m getting ready to walk down the aisle to the ring, ‘I have to win for this trial to happen, I have to win for this trial to happen,’” he said. “I know the more successful I get, the more exposure you get towards [this cause].”

Aqueduct still on track to be a destination


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Less than three months after Governor Andrew Cuomo acknowledged talks had broken down with a developer for what would have been the nation’s largest convention center, the question remains: what will become of the land adjacent to Aqueduct Racetrack and Resorts World Casino New York City.

State and Resorts World officials say they are working to get the area developed and have promised the community that something will come in the area, bringing with it a number of jobs and economic activity. In order to do this, the Legislature and voters must approve gaming laws that would allow table games in select locations throughout the state.

Economic development, a use for the land at Aqueduct and better transportation are the three things Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder said he has been pushing for to spark further growth in south Queens.

Better transportation, he said, meant upgraded service on the “A” train and consideration for a Rockaway LIRR line — something that Goldfeder has pushed for since being elected. Goldfeder recently sent a request to MTA Chair Joseph Lhotta asking for improvements to the “A” train stops at Aqueduct. Since Resorts World opened last October, Aqueduct “A” train service has increased by 100 percent, Goldfeder said. Resorts World, approaching its first birthday in Ozone Park, has promoted its accomplishments in the short amount of time, breaking several state gambling records, both for revenue and attendance. In July, the Racino saw more than a million visitors come through its doors, despite a robbery in late June.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo, who has long supported development in the area and jobs with it, said there will be something developed in the area, should it be an entertainment venue, hotel or other amenity. Community need as well should also be taken into consideration when planning what will go into the area, he said. This included not only mass transit, but traffic on local streets and neighborhood effects.

“We also have to keep in mind that it’s very closely adjacent to residential homes,” Addabbo said. “So whatever they build there, we must take into account the quality of life of those who live right adjacent to the casino.”

The three-term senator went on to say that Resorts World has listened to the community in the past, and expects they will continue to moving forward.

“I’m optimistic that as in the past Resorts World will be very cognizant of the fact that residents are impacted daily on what goes on there,” he said.

The Racino’s parent company, Genting, is waiting to see if voters approve gaming laws in November 2013 before laying concrete plans for the area, spokesperson Stefan Friedman said.

“I think the idea of seeing where things come down on the [state] constitutional amendment on gaming will help determine a great deal of what we’re going to do in the future for the entire site,” Friedman said.

Resorts World officials still see the area potentially becoming a destination location, he said, in regards to hotels or restaurants in the area.

Resorts World hosts Aston Villa soccer club


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Aston Villa and Resorts World Onew

There’s usually a lot of different games being played at a casino — slots, video poker and more. Soccer with a former English Premier League player is not normally one of them.

It was, however, on Thursday, July 19 when Ian Taylor, a former star with Aston Villa, and two of the team’s current coaches turned the floor of Resorts World Casino New York City into a soccer field and taught some 30 kids from the South Queens Boys and Girls Club some moves.

In two separate groups the kids learned fundamentals of soccer such as dribbling, passing and corner kicks.

“It is an absolute privilege for Aston Villa Football Club to come to New York City as part of our US tour and work with our main club sponsor Genting at Resorts World Casino New York City,” said Taylor, who played nine seasons with the football club. “Aston Villa and Genting share the ethos of making a difference in the community and from visits we have made in Birmingham [England] and Hong Kong we have seen the great work Genting does. That is again demonstrated today and we are thrilled to work with Resorts World Casino New York City and give a special experience to children from the South Queens Boys and Girls Club.”

This is just one stop Aston Villa is making as the club carries out preseason activities, including stops in Chicago and Philadelphia.

Michael Speller, president of Resorts World, said the children taking part would cherish this event.

“There is no better way to welcome Aston Villa Football Club to the United States than to have them visit Resorts World Casino New York for a one-of-a-kind experience with the children of Queens,” Speller said. “Resorts World is always looking to give back to our neighbors, and today’s event with Aston Villa is one that the children of the South Queens Boys and Girls Club won’t soon forget.”

Resorts World breaks record for weekly revenue


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Resorts World Casino New York keeps hitting records.

The racino took in almost $15 million between July 1 and 7, officials announced, breaking a previously held state record for gross slot gaming revenue and tax-generation by a gaming property. From the intake, the casino sent $6.5 million back to the state toward education.

Michael Speller, president of the racino, heralded the landmark event as a success since Resorts World opened less than a year ago. He added that Resorts World would continue looking for more ways to create revenue and jobs for residents.

“The record-breaking revenue that Resorts World has generated to support the education of New York’s students, and the more than 3,000 jobs we have created for hard-working New Yorkers, is proof positive that our partnership with New York State is working,” Speller said. “However, we can still do more. We will look to pursue additional opportunities in the future to generate even more revenue for the state and create thousands of more jobs for New Yorkers.”

The record for highest revenue in a week had been set by the racino in February, when it brought in $14.4 million, according to Resorts World.

The weekly record comes after the casino — the only in the five boroughs — announced in June that it beat out Las Vegas, Foxwoods and others for the most slot machine revenue in May, when the venue took in $57.5 million. Resorts World also made headlines in late June, when the not even year-old casino was robbed for the first time.

Resorts World pays out most winnings in New York


| ASalazar@queenscourier.com

SONY DSC

Talk about a payday.

Resorts World Casino New York City, New York City’s first Racino, is not only paying 94 percent of its revenues back to its patrons, but also returning a good chunk of its profits back to the state to help support education.

The Racino took in $3.18 billion between April and mid-June from gamers, according to financial reports filed with the state Division of Lottery. About $3 billion of that was won back by patrons. Sixty percent of the money collected — $178 million – in the two-and-a-half month period was returned to the state for education and the racing industry.

In less than a year, the Racino has given back almost $200 million of its revenue to the state that was earmarked for education, a Resorts World spokesperson said.

“Through Resorts World’s partnership with the Division of Lottery and the State of New York, in just nine months we have been able to generate nearly $200 million in revenue for education – a primary goal from the very beginning of the video lottery program,” said spokesperson Stefan Friedman. “We have a significant and reliable source of funding, and we are proud that our partnership with the state has proven so successful.”

Made possible through its partnership with the Division of Lottery and the State of New York, the casino will continue to return a percentage of its earnings to aid education.

“[The] impressive April-June profits [$178 million] are a win-win for our community and we should all root for its continued success,” said Councilmember Eric Ulrich. “Resorts World has committed to sharing a small percentage of its net profit with the community and [the] report shows that they are well on their way toward achieving that end.”

One patron said he thinks it is productive that the casino gives back to education, but doesn’t take it into consideration when he visits.

“It’s a good thing, but not the sole reason I keep coming back,” he said.

Queens casino robbed


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Resorts World

New York’s first casino had its first robbery less than a year after its opening.

The robber entered Resorts World Casino New York City at about 4:30 p.m. on Friday, June 29 and approached a teller at the gate, police said. He passed the teller a note and simulated a weapon in his waistband.

The teller handed over an unknown amount of cash to the unidentified perp before he fled through the front door, said cops.

The suspect is described as 30 years old, 5’8” tall, last seen wearing a blue shirt, blue jeans and black sneakers.

A Resorts World spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment as of press time, but State Senator Joseph Addabbo released a statement on Monday, July 2 saying some security procedures should be changed at the facility.

“While I am thankful that nobody was injured during last week’s robbery, and that such incidents normally don’t occur at Resorts World,” he said, “I do have serious concerns regarding the procedures that are in place which would allow an individual to take a bag of money from the cashier window, down to street level, out of the casino, across the parking lot, and escape to the street.

“I am interested in the possible changes in the method of notifying the police in a timely manner and the practice of monitoring a situation in progress. I will continue to advocate for the hiring of additional security personnel on the premises of the casino in an effort to create jobs and supplement the safety of the patrons there.”