One of the biggest and most profitable casinos in the state of New York is going to be getting even bigger. Aqueduct Casino is currently in the midst of planning a 750,000 expansion that will cost nearly $400 million. Groundbreaking is expected in December.
Parent company Resort World is attempting to create a facility that would be granted one of the rare commercial casino licences that have been given to three other projects in upstate New York. The uniqueness of Aqueduct Casino is that it is much farther south, and the new developments could definitely entice state officials to allow them the chance to use real slot machines, table games and other gaming options.
The video-lottery terminals at the Aqueduct Casino have been a big talking point when it comes to revenue distribution in the state. There is a huge chunk of money that goes from the profits of the VLT’s straight to some of the tracks. That’s why it’s even stranger that the New York Racing Association hasn’t been informed of the plans to upgrade one of their own, major revenue streams.
Ryan Eller is the president of Resort World and mentioned, “We certainly would be willing to talk to NYRA about that.” It’s unclear s to why there has been no involvement with the NYRA but a lot of it has to do with the fact that casinos are trying to distance themselves nationwide from horse racing in general. Eller noted that if the Aqueduct Casino expansion doesn’t go as planned, it could have serious impacts on purse money available.
One thing is for sure – Aqueduct Casino literally holds all the cards. They are such a major profit generator for gaming in New York that they can essentially push their weight around. Whether they choose to favor horse racing and let them in to the revenue share remains to be seen.
This has been a muddy situation in New York for the past few months, and if development plans for Aqueduct Casino advance as proposed, it could get even stickier. More to come.