City Welcomes First Racino at Aqueduct Race Track
Friday, October 28, 2011 - 10:17 AM
Video slot machines started whirring Friday at Aqueduct race track in Queens after a decade of controversy.
"People are going to gamble no matter where. They go to Atlantic City, let them leave their money in Queens where we need it," said Gene Grecko, 82, a resident of nearby Howard Beach who visited the casino on opening day.
Grecko supports the project and hopes it will bring more jobs to the area. "It's also good for the senior citizens--a place to hang out," he said.
Many visitors left rather than wait on line for three hours to enter the racino. As of 3:00 p.m. an estimated 8-10,000 people had entered and a spokesman estimates Saturday will see even longer lines.
The racino will have 4,525 video slot machines and 475 electronic games to start. Thousands more will be added later, along with other casino-like amenities.
More than 1,300 jobs were created to build the flashy facility, which includes 18 food and beverage courts, two restaurants, four VIP lounges, a bar and theater for music and comedy acts.
Only half the casino is open now, the rest is expected to be fully open by December. The company that runs the racino, Genting's Resorts World New York, is also planning to build a walkway that would extend from the subway directly to the casino.
Officials hope it will provide millions of dollars a year in much-needed revenue to the cash-strapped state and its racing industry.
The New York Racing Association calls it a "new era."
With reporting by the Associated Press