Gov. David Paterson and Genting chairman K.T. Lim Oct. 28 were joined by elected officials as well as representatives of New York’s gaming and racing operations and South Queens residents at Aqueduct to officially break ground on the Resorts World New York casino--a project that will put 2,100 New Yorkers to work, generate more than $300 million in annual revenue for the state, and give New York City its first ever casino.
“With today’s groundbreaking, New York continues its confident march out of recession and back to prosperity and job growth," said Paterson in a statement. "The addition of the Resorts World New York Casino at the historic Aqueduct Race Track will create employment for thousands of New Yorkers, help revitalize the state’s racing industry, and serve as a powerful generator of state revenue—money that will go toward education.”
“This is one of the proudest days in the history of the Genting organization,” said Lim in a release. “Working alongside our elected officials, union representatives, and our neighbors in the South Queens community, we will deliver a world-class tourism and entertainment facility that all New Yorkers can be proud of.”
Just months after being awarded the contract, Genting has already started ramping up its hiring for the project’s more than 1,300 construction jobs and will soon announce job fairs for the 800 permanent jobs that will be created at Resorts World New York. Genting won the rights to develop Resorts World New York with a bid that included a $380 million, one-time payment. The company predicts the state will receive at least $300 million annually in revenue generated from the casino.
“After nearly a decade of delay, I am thrilled this project has broken from the starting gate today,” said congressman Gregory Meeks in a statement. “With the jobs it will create and the recurring revenue it will produce, I know Resorts World New York will play an integral role in helping revitalize the economies of the borough, the city, and the State.”
“This long-awaited project couldn’t come soon enough for the people of Queens, as it will create exactly the right kind of jobs-- good-paying, stable and local-- that are in such high demand throughout this neighborhood,” said State Sen. Joseph Addabbo.
Within six months, a significant portion of the 4,525 video lottery terminals that will fill the casino will be operational. Six months from then all of the VLTs will be up and running and all interior work will be complete. In 18 months, all interior and exterior renovations--including the building of an enclosed skybridge from the “A” train station to the Resorts World New York entrance-- will also be finished.
The groundbreaking came one week after the state Inspector General's office issued the findings of an eight-month investigation into a previous Aqueduct casino bidding process--a report that has stunned the state Capitol given the number of top state officials criticized for their actions in the contract process. The probe focused on the award earlier this year--later scuttled and replaced by a new process that led to Genting's approval--that gave the casino project to Aqueduct Entertainment Group, a consortium of gambling, real estate and financial interests.
Held out for criticism for their role in selecting AEG, which senior state fiscal experts said should have been disqualified early on in the process, were a number of top Democrats, including Paterson. But the inspector general's report is most troublesome for top Senate Democrats, including Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson, who backed both the AEG bid and then the subsequent Genting replacement plan. Sampson, whose leadership of the Senate is now up in the air following the AEG investigtation, did not attend the groundbreaking at Aqueduct today.
The inspector general's findings of the AEG award, and the handling of the bidding process by senior Democratic lawmakers and staff members in the Senate, has been turned over to the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Manhattan district attorney for possible criminal prosecution.