A 750,000-square-foot expansion is planned for Aqueduct Racetrack in New York City, with construction work on the project set to commence in December. The expansion plan has not been introduced to the New York Racing Association (NYRA) yet.
The amount of $400 million will be spent on the project. Genting New York, the casino operator in charge of the racetrack and the nearby Resorts World Casino New York, said at a meeting with the NYRA Franchise Oversight Board that local officials have not been presented with rendering of how the upgraded facility would look. In addition, the project will need to be approved by the state in order to be materialized.
Genting New York is planning to add additional gambling space, hotel rooms, entertainment and retail areas at the existing racetrack.
Commenting on the announcement, Resorts World Casino New York President Ryan Eller told the board that the expansion project comes as the first phase of a larger plan for turning the racetrack into a full-scale integrated casino resort.
If the plan is given the green light, it might result in Genting New York positioning itself as one of the candidates for the operation of downstate full-fledged casinos once legislators and gambling regulators decide to provide the necessary licenses for the purpose. The said licenses would make it possible for video-lottery terminals to be replaced with real slot machines and table games to be added to gambling venues in the region.
The Franchise Oversight Board is responsible for monitoring NYRA’s finances. The NYRA itself operates racing options at Aqueduct. However, the association has not been presented with the expansion plan yet.
During the meeting with the Oversight Board, a member voiced concerns about the impact the project would have on purses if it fails. Questions were also raised about the extent of disruption on racing during construction. Expansion is expected to be completed early in 2019.
Mr. Eller admitted that there indeed will be significant negative impact on purses if the Aqueduct market does not expand as initially planned. He also noted that if New Jersey eventually legalizes the establishment of two commercial casinos outside Atlantic City, this would affect New York’s gambling market in quite a negative manner, as well.