Resorts World New York Plans $5B Casino Expansion

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In the race for the upcoming three downstate New York casino licenses, operators are pulling out the stops to gain approval with locals.

Resorts World New York, an existing horse race betting and video lottery terminal casino in Queens, recently announced its ambitious $5 billion plan for expansion, should it get a license.

That plan was backed by Queens native and superstar rapper Nas, who attended the announcement ceremony at the existing venue.

Resorts World New York City is a favorite to get one of the three new full New York casino licenses, as it has been operating casino-style gambling in the local area since 2011.

Most importantly, unlike many other proposals, such as those for a casino in Coney Island or in Nassau County, Long Island, there is little public opposition to Resorts World expanding its operations.

“Resorts World New York City came into our community more than a dozen years ago, and every day since has been a dedicated neighbor who shows up, hears our feedback, and responds to our needs,” said Betty Braton, the chair of Queens Community Board 10, speaking at a community event late last week.

“They have been with us in good times and tough times ever since, giving both financial support and their time to this community.”

World’s Largest Casino Gaming Space

The plans for the upgraded resort cover a laundry list of features, not least of which will be a newly expanded 350,000-square-foot gaming floor with hundreds of new table games.

Resorts World owners Genting say the $5 billion revamp will make it the biggest casino gaming floor in the world. That includes the giant Nevada casinos of Las Vegas, such as the flagship Resorts World Las Vegas.

The development plans also include a 1,600-room hotel, 30 new restaurants and bars, and a 7,000-seat performance venue.

Not to be outdone on the community benefits front, the casino development will also include 10 acres of public park space, improvements to local mass transit infrastructure, and a community center with a basketball academy led by former NBA legend Kenny Smith.

Uniquely among the dozen or so competing proposals, Genting says it will also build 3.000 affordable housing units for casino employees.

It estimates the 7,000-strong workforce will see a further 5,000 permanent employees added. There will also be another 5,000 construction jobs needed during the build.

“This facility will be exemplary as a model of decarbonization, as fully electrified infrastructure,” said Alberto Cavallero of project architects Perkins Eastman, speaking at the announcement.

“We’re mindful that we’re making a significant addition to our great city of New York, and the design of the facility strives to become part of the pantheon, if you will, of must-see destinations in New York.”

The World is Resorts

As well as appearing at the announcement event for the ambitious plans, Resorts World also bought in New York City rap legend Nas to create a hip-hop themed promotional video for the project.

That puts Nas in competition with fellow NYC hip-hop icon Jay-Z. The billionaire Roc Nation mogul supports a competing casino idea from Caesars that would take a prime Times Square spot in midtown Manhattan.

While Jay and Caesars’ plan has seen some local opposition in what is a crowded area of the city, Resorts World has seen support from community leaders.

The local backing of any casino bid in this race will be vital.

With support from a native hip-hop legend to add to the voices of community councilors and the existing casino’s workforce, this announcement will only strengthen Resorts World as the pole position candidate for one of the licenses.

“This is an ambitious project that will give new opportunities to the hard-working families who call Queens home, attract top-tier talent, and build up the next generation of leaders. Clearly, with this project, the world is ours,” the Illmatic rapper said in the video caption on social media.

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