By Eric Yun
Finally. After more twists and turns than a daytime soap opera, Aqueduct racetrack finally has a vendor to develop and operate video lottery terminals (VLT) at the facility. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli approved Genting New York’s proposal on Monday, paving the way for construction to begin at the Ozone Park facility.
“This is one of the most important vendor contracts New York has ever signed,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “The VLT contract involves hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s a 30-year license that carries the future of New York’s racing industry on its back.”
The contract will do much more than help the New York Racing Association (NYRA). Genting New York’s proposal calls for the creation of approximately 1,300 construction jobs and 800 permanent jobs. Furthermore, in a meeting with Community Board 10 in July, the company promised to spend over $30 million in local goods and services, and they plan to donate one percent of net profits to community groups.
Jobs were definitely on the community’s mind as the proposal was being discussed. “We look forward to working with Genting to bring much needed jobs to our community and ensuring the casino project is a successful one that enhances the whole com- munity” said Betty Braton, Chair of CB 10.
Genting New York is a subsidiary of Genting Berhad, one of the world’s largest resort and casino companies. They currently operate Asia’s largest casino in Malaysia. This will be Genting’s first foray in America, but their management and construction team has years of experience with Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut and the casino at Saratoga Springs.
Genting’s plans include approximately 4,500 slot machines, a 200-seat restaurant, a high-
end Chinese restaurant and other entertainment amenities. The proposal also included a $380 million upfront payment to the state. Once construction begins, Genting hopes to be able to open within six months and completely finish construction in 18 months.