Resorts World New York City Unveils $5B Full Casino License Plan

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Resorts World New York City is among a crowded bidding pool trying to land one of New York’s three downstate casino licenses. That would that permit Las Vegas-style slot machines, table games, and sports betting.

Resorts World New York City would undergo a major expansion and renovation upon receipt of a full-scale casino license in New York. Parent company Genting says it would invest $5 billion into the makeover if it gains the rights to Las Vegas-style slot machines, live dealer table games, and sports betting. (Image: Genting)

Resorts World NYC is a racino that operates slot-like video lottery terminals (VLTs) and electronic table games. For the Genting-owned and operated property to secure slot and live dealer table game privileges, plus sports betting, the casino must win one of the three full-scale downstate casino concessions. Those are set to be issued by the New York Gaming Facility Location Board late this year or in 2025.

Companies pursuing the coveted downstate casino permits are willing to not only fork over the $500 million that each license costs, but also pitch the state substantial projects that the developers say will improve the community in which the casino would operate.

Genting’s plan unveiled this week includes not only an expanded casino space with major updates to the facility and many new hotel rooms. but also the construction of a 7,000-seat concert hall. Located at the Aqueduct Racetrack in the Queens neighborhoods of Ozone Park and Jamaica, Genting says if RW New York City secures one of the full-scale casino permits, it will additionally build an “innovation campus” with a sports academy for high school student-athletes.

That project would come at a major cost.

Expansion Details

Genting has already invested more than $1 billion into its Queens property. If it receives a full gaming license, company officials said Thursday they would pour another $5 billion into the resort to greatly expand the destination that’s near JFK airport.

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 Thursday.

The proposal includes 1,600 new hotel rooms, 30 new restaurant and drinking concepts, the 7,000-seat concert venue, and 3,000 units of employee housing offered at affordable rates.

The casino would balloon to 350,000 square feet. A 50-acre outdoor park was also detailed in Thursday’s project revelation.

New York Favorites

Resorts World New York City and MGM Resorts’ Empire City Casino, another racino operating video lottery gaming, are considered the front-runners for two of the three downstate concessions.

Resorts World is New York’s largest tax generator, with the racino delivering Albany more than $4 billion since it opened a dozen years ago. Genting has invested more than $1.1 billion into the Queens racino and has been a strong state and local partner. The racino has been a major success for Genting, as it’s the richest VLT winner among the state’s 12 racinos.

During the current 2023/24 fiscal year that began in April 2023, Resorts World NYC has won more than $563.2 million of the more than $7.5 billion that players bet. The state takes a 50% cut of the net win, or about $281.6 million. Most of the tax benefit — 80% — is earmarked for public education.

Empire City reported GGR of $489.1 million during the same 10-month period that ended January 2024. MGM has also pledged to build a major concert space in the NYC area upon receipt of a full gaming license, though a bit smaller at 5,000 seats.

Other companies prepping bids include Hard Rock International at billionaire Steve Cohen’s Citi Field MLB ballpark in Queens, Las Vegas Sands at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and Wynn Resorts at Hudson Yards in a partnership with billionaire Stephen Ross.

Caesars Entertainment is working on a bid in Times Square, Bally’s is developing a scheme in the Bronx, Mohegan has a plan near the UN, and a consortium consisting of the Chickasaw Nation, Saratoga Casino Holdings, and Thor Equities wants to bring a resort casino to Coney Island.

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