Resorts World New York City launches bid for $5B development

Dive Brief:

  • NYC’s only casino destination, Resorts World New York City, announced a $5 billion project that would add a 350,000-square-foot casino floor, 1,600 hotel rooms and a 7,000-seat entertainment venue to its space in Queens, New York. 
  • RWNYC, which says it is New York state’s largest taxpayer, claims the project would generate hundreds of millions of additional tax dollars for New York as well as create thousands of permanent union jobs when completed, in addition to 5,000 union construction jobs during the project’s development. 
  • New York state officials authorized up to three casino licenses for downstate New York last April, according to The New York Times. Since then, multiple casino developers have thrown their hats in the ring as competition to create a Las Vegas-style casino resort in the country’s largest metropolitan area heats up. 

Dive Insight:

If approved, RWNYC’s redevelopment project would create one of the largest casino floors in the world at 350,000 square feet, according to a release from the company. It would also add 2 million square feet of entertainment, gaming, retail, dining and convention space. 

That’s on top of an already 1 million-square-foot facility. Located at the Aqueduct Race Track, RWNYC currently operates approximately 6,500 slot machines and has 400 rooms available via the attached Hyatt Regency JFK Airport. 

Plans for venue additions also include the Awana Spa and the Ayu DayClub, which would feature a curated beverage program and guest DJs. 

RWNYC hopes to expand its food and beverage options as well, with concepts from chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Scott Conant.

“Together we hope to capture the beauty and diversity of food cultures that makes Queens one of the most exciting places in the world to eat,” said Samuelsson in a statement. 

To promote the ambitious project, RWNYC partnered with rapper Nas, a Queens native, who said the development would “give new opportunities to the hard-working families who call Queens home, attract top-tier talent, and build up the next generation of leaders.” 

But approval on the project isn’t a sure bet. The state’s Gaming Commission will ultimately decide which casino plans will be awarded licenses, and, according to The New York Times, the state’s process “is set up so that strong community opposition can kill a casino bid before state regulators even review the application.”

That hasn’t stopped casino operators from launching bids. In late 2022, Caesars Entertainment and SL Green Realty launched one to develop a casino resort in Times Square. Related Companies and Wynn Resorts want to build a casino at Hudson Yards in Manhattan. And the New York-based Soloviev Group and Mohegan have proposed a casino near the United Nations

Other casino projects have been proposed to be built on Coney Island, within Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store, on 11th Avenue in Manhattan and at Willets Point in Queens, according to The New York Times. 

Perhaps to fortify its bid in a competitive race, RWNYC also released a bevy of statements of support from local politicians. 

“Southeast Queens has always dreamed of a project such as this, which will put a full entertainment, gaming, and community destination within minutes of JFK Airport,” said U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks, who represents New York’s fifth district. “We continue the fight for jobs, greenspace, housing, and mass transit improvements for a generation.” 

RWNYC also said its expansion could create more than 10 acres of green space accessible to the public, including parks, trails and bike paths. The resort also said it would “continue its goal to exceed State and industry vendor and procurement standards for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses (SDVOBs).”

RWNYC said it has generated more than $4 billion for New York state’s public education system since its opening in 2011. The property is owned by Malaysian company Genting Group, which operates 11 Resorts World locations in New York’s Catskills and Hudson Valley regions, as well as Las Vegas, in the U.S.; Malaysia; Singapore; and the U.K.