Aqueduct casino opens doors on October 28
by Lisa A. Fraser
Oct 26, 2011 | 6463 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Construction of the first phase of the new Aqueduct casino has crossed the finish line.

The highly anticipated Resorts World New York casino will open its doors this Friday, October 28, at 1 p.m., and Queensites should prepare to get their bankrolls and their bets lined up.

The first phase will unveil the 190,000-square-foot Times Square Casino, located on the first floor and complete with 2,485 Video Lottery Terminals, 210 Electronic Table Games (ETGs), including Roulette and Craps, and a variety of dining options.

The Times Square Casino will also feature the Bar 360 Lounge, a signature circular bar with a raised stage that can seat 240 customers. The space will feature a 28 by 18-foot television that will be able to slide between the two floors and casinos, presenting an opportunity for patrons to watch the races.

The space is also built to accommodate musical acts, comedy acts and other forms of entertainment. There will also be an outdoor deck where customers can sit and watch the races.

The facility was initially slated to open in three stages over an 18-month period. But additional remedial work had to be done on the site and Michael Speller, president of Resorts World New York, noted that the company decided to see the setback as an opportunity.

“It was a challenge for us, but our role was not to be daunted,” he said. “We reduced [the opening] to a 12-month, two-stage opening.”

The second phase of the casino will open by the end of this year, instead of the originally slated April 2012.

Resorts World New YOrk is touting the casino's allure, which will offer an opportunity for travelers stopping at J.F.K Airport to visit Queens and place a few bets.

The company is currently working with the MTA to revamp the A Train North Conduit station so that potential patrons can have easier access to the facility. Speller noted that a sky bridge, which will connect directly to the station, will “soon” be built.

After the casino opens on Friday, in addition to the A Train, residents can also access the casino using the Q37 bus, which will stop at the site, and a shuttle bus will soon be available to pick up and drop off patrons.

The Fifth Avenue Casino will open in the middle of December, along with the third-level Central Park Casino and the rest of the facility, making the new casino completely open by the year's end.

“After witnessing many false starts and empty promises to our community, we are finally realizing a credible idea becoming a reality,” said State Senator Joe Addabbo in a statement. “I believe that with the opening of Resorts World, the surrounding communities benefit from the initial saving of the Aqueduct Racetrack, job creation, quality social amenities and an optimistic future for the site and neighborhood.”

Addabbo also said that the concerns of residents regarding traffic patterns, public safety and jobs should be constantly addressed in the wake of the casino's opening.

“I am confident that these and other issues that arise will be attended to in a timely fashion,” he said.

A total of 1,350 operational employees will be working at Aqueduct when the Times Square Casino opens. According to the company, 35,000 people have applied for jobs at the casino and Speller noted that 70 percent of the jobs will go to individuals residing in Queens.

“We are focusing on using local talent,” he said.

A total of 1,400 construction workers are working on site in two, 10-hour shifts to finish construction.

“It's been a great effort on their part when you consider that we broke ground on this project less than one year ago,” Speller said.

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