New York’s Newest Casino Set to Open at Newburgh Mall by the End of the Year

CITY OF NEWBURGH – Hundreds of black slot machines and table games are in place and waiting to be fed cash, spread across a few acres of blue and orange carpeting where the Bon Ton department store used to be.

Within the next three months, New York’s newest casino is slated to open, an electronic gaming device playground inside Newburgh Mall that will operate 20 hours a day. Resorts World Hudson Valley will feature 1,200 machines in total, most of them slots, but also 82 unmanned imitations of typical casino offerings like craps, roulette and blackjack.

The site promises to be both a place of entertainment and an economic stimulus that revives a struggling shopping centre, employs 250 people and injects significant funds into the coffers of the town of Newburgh. It’s also expected to generate a heap of revenue to support the billion-dollar Resorts World Catskills casino that opened in Sullivan County four years ago and has yet to raise as much as its operators and state officials had hoped so.

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No opening date has yet been set. All but 100 slot machines are ready to go, with 60 miles of cables running under the raised floor, two company officials said during a site visit on Tuesday. But construction continues and faces delays in the supply chain. The finishes should be done before the end of the year.

At the center of the 90,000-square-foot casino is an octagonal bar that will show sporting events on a ring of eight overhead TVs and encourage patrons to bet on their phones using the company’s sports betting app, Resorts World App. . But gaming aside, the goal is for the bar to become a neighborhood watering hole, set in a sea of ​​slot machines.

The Resorts World Hudson Valley site in Newburgh on Tuesday September 20, 2022.

“What we’re really trying to do here is more of a local hangout, almost like a Cheers vibe,” explained Meghan Taylor, vice president of government affairs and public relations for Genting Americas. “It’s a hands-on game for those interested in gaming, but also a really cool, inviting environment for people to just come in for a drink, relax, catch up with friends.”

The casino on Route 300 will be the third Resorts World location in New York operated by Genting, the company that owns the upscale Sullivan County casino and operates New York’s only casino at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. He was granted permission to open a casino in Orange County through a provision in the 2019 state budget that authorized the transfer of slot machines previously used at Monticello Raceway.

$50 million project

Renovations began about nine months ago after the former Bon Ton was gutted last occupied by a Jennifer Furniture store − and several adjacent stores. The project employed about 200 construction workers and is expected to cost more than $50 million, up from the original estimate of $32 million. All work took place inside the existing mall building except for the addition of a covered bay for armored cars to collect cash.

This rendering shows the casino lounge at Resorts World Hudson Valley in the Newburgh Mall.

Resorts World Hudson Valley has about 30 employees so far and plans to hire the rest closer to opening. Much of the staff will be security and bar guards, but will also include cashiers, accountants, slot machine technicians and more, said Anthony Bruno, vice president of operations for Resorts World Hudson Valley. . The average salary is $42,000 to $45,000, with total compensation of $72,000 when benefits are included, Taylor said.

The casino gives Newburgh area residents a hiring preference and has so far held three job fairs to recruit employees, two at the Newburgh Mall and one at the Galleria at Crystal Run in the city. of Wallkill. He plans to hold another job fair from noon to 4 p.m. on Oct. 1 near the casino entrance inside the mall.

Boon for Newburgh

The Newburgh Casino will be a boon to local taxpayers. Genting agreed to pay the city $3 million a year for hosting the casino, including a $500,000 payment already made to improve police, fire, and ambulance services. The city plans to use some of those funds to add two officers to its police force, which now consists of 46 full-time officers and 13 part-time officers, city supervisor Gil Piaquadio said.

The Resorts World Hudson Valley site in Newburgh on Tuesday September 20, 2022.

Newburgh is also expected to collect around $780,000 a year in state aid once the casino has been open for a year. Additionally, Genting is paying the city, Newburgh School District and Orange County $1 million to make up for property taxes they lost after the mall owner had his tax assessment reduced in a settlement. judicial due to the vacancy of the stores.

The 40-year-old mall will lose another anchor next month when its Sears closes. Having a gambling hall occupying almost a quarter of his space should increase his fortune. Taylor said Genting did not include any restaurants in its casino to help attract new restaurants to the mall. (The mall now has a Mexican restaurant and a pizzeria.) The presence of a lucrative casino will also increase the value of the mall and the resulting tax payments to the city, county, and school district.

NYC casinos are coming

The opening is approaching as potential competition looms. State officials are preparing to file applications for up to three casino licenses in the New York area, with reports of possible bids for casinos near Citi Field in Queens and at Hudson Yards in Manhattan. . Likely rivals include two existing casinos that need those same licenses to add live table games to their electronic-only fare: the Resorts World site in Queens and the Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway.

State lawmakers allowed Genting an Orange County casino in 2019 in part to support its business in Sullivan County, which had been hailed as an economic recovery for the former Borscht Belt resort area, but had so far failed. Those struggles escalated the following year when Catskills Casino was hampered by the COVID pandemic, which forced that site and others to shut down for months.

A rendering of the entrance to Resorts World Hudson Valley in the Newburgh Mall.

Business has since rebounded. Resorts World Catskills collected $227 million in gross gambling revenue in the past 12 months, more than pre-pandemic levels, according to state Gaming Commission figures.

By comparison, the Newburgh casino, which is much smaller but located in a more populated and easily accessible area near the intersection of the Thruway and Interstate 84, is expected to generate approximately $140 million in gross revenue.

Fitch Ratings, the financial agency, predicted last year that the Newburgh casino could siphon off 25% of Sullivan County’s casino business. Taylor disputed that estimate, saying Genting’s “cannibalization” projections — one casino drawing customers from another — were much lower.

“We think we’re actually going to gain some additional market share here in Newburgh from Connecticut, PA and sort of along this 84 corridor, and not significantly cannibalize Resorts World Catskills revenue,” he said. she declared.

She also brushed off the threat of new casino licenses in the New York area, saying those sites would tap into different markets than Sullivan County and Newburgh casinos.

One of the conditions of the 2019 bill that allowed the Newburgh casino was that Resorts World Catskills retain at least 1,473 jobs after opening its satellite in neighboring Orange. The Sullivan County Casino now has approximately 1,200 employees. But the nearby Katrite Resort and Indoor Water Park, built under the same casino resort plan, has more than 250 full-time and 50 part-time workers, boosting total employment and meeting requirements. of the state, said Brad Maione, a spokesman for the gaming commission.

Chris McKenna covers government and politics for the Times Herald-Record and USA Today Network. Contact him at [email protected]

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