Resorts World New York City is adding a 400-room hotel to the largest and most lucrative racino on the planet.
The investment is pegged at $400 million, including restaurants, retail stores and the addition of more slot machines to the 5,000 in operation at the venue, located at the famed Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens.
It’s all part of a U.S. focus that is coming to define Malaysia-based Genting Group’s global gaming strategy.
The playbook encompasses a Resorts World-branded casino hotel in the Catskills, slated to open early in 2018. A couple hours’ drive from Resorts World NYC, it will feature 332 rooms and suites, an entertainment venue with 2,000 seats, bars, restaurants, pools and a spa. With more than 2,100 slot machines and 130 table games it will also be the state’s closest full-scale Las Vegas-style gaming floor to the Big Apple. Then there’s Resorts World Las Vegas, priced at $4 billion at full build-out, which is moving toward a groundbreaking on the north Strip later this year with the goal of opening in phases beginning in 2020.
“We want to diversify the portfolio, spread out the risk and be able to leverage international travel by having the right assets in the right cities,” said Edward Farrell, president of Genting Americas.
The end game for Genting, whose portfolio includes gaming resorts in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, the UK and the Bahamas, is a marketing reach to match the elite of global gaming.
As Michael Pollock, managing director of industry consultants Spectrum Gaming Group, noted, “You encourage your higher spending, most profitable customers to stick with you. People in Queens will play more often if they can earn points redeemed in Las Vegas.”
Not that everything has gone to plan. A $1 billion joint-venture in the Boston market with the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Tribe is entangled in local opposition and legal difficulties, and a bid to dominate the massive South Florida market with the only destination-scale casino in Miami, an outlay of more than $230 million for the company so far, has yet to win local government approval.
But this is nothing new for Genting, which weathered years of delays and political scandals and had to pay $380 million up front to the state of New York to finally get Resorts World NYC open in the fall of 2011. But it’s paid off handsomely. The racino is the highest-grossing in the world, generating $826.5 million in gaming revenue last year, according to Bloomberg Intelligence―that’s 13 percent more than Atlantic City’s biggest casino, the Borgata, and 26 percent more than Wynn Las Vegas.
The state, which took 70 percent of that, hasn’t fared too badly either. The New York Lottery Education Fund has collected more than $1.9 billion in the five and a half years Resorts World has been open.
That will only grow with the new hotel, which is scheduled to open in 2019. It will generate $200 million in estimated economic activity for New York and provide 3,000 construction jobs, 1,000 new full- and part-time and “thousands of indirect jobs,” according to a company release.
Said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, “In its more than five years of operations, Resorts World has proven to be an exemplary neighbor and partner to the surrounding community.”