KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 — This October 31, Genting Berhad’s first foray into the US gaming market kicks-off with the new sprawling Resorts World Casino New York (RWNY), a facility it believes will generate over RM2.5 billion annually, Singapore’s Business Times reported today.
In an exclusive interview with the daily, Resorts World Casino New York (RWNY) president Michael Speller said the 700,000 sq ft casino situated at the historic Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens is aptly located in the heart of the Northeast, which is regarded as the US’ largest gaming market.
With an expected steady influx of mid-level gamblers to high rollers from across the globe, the gaming giant is looking to tap into some of the estimated RM15.7 billion that leaves New York each year to casino venues in the neighbouring states of Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Jersey.
“The American economy may be deep in the doldrums but there is still plenty of big money to be made in the perennially lucrative gaming sector.
“If all goes to plan, the 700,000-square-foot property — situated at the historic Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens — will generate as much as US$800 million (RM2.5 billion) a year in gaming revenue and in excess of US$300 million (RM942 million) a year in tax revenue for the state of New York,” the article said.
It added RWNY would re-channel one per cent of its pre-tax profits back into the local community to fund projects such as those in education.
The casino, New York’s first, will feature more than 4,500 slot machines, 475 electronic table games featuring everything from baccarat to roulette, world-class restaurants, theatres, and a sports bar with the largest television screen in Queens.
Speller told the daily that RWNY’s two main target groups are mid-level and VIP customers, as well as the 50 million passengers that fly into the John F Kennedy international airport yearly.
“Some of these transits are six to eight hours long, so we have a great opportunity to market ourselves to these people. This is business that currently does not come into New York, so we can create an entirely new market of customers.
“Many tourists come into Manhattan — from across Asia, Europe, and South America - for business or leisure and we will certainly reach out to them as well,” he was quoted as saying.
Speller added that RWNY also seeks to attract those within its existing customer base across the globe, including those in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and the United Kingdom.
He noted that the casino’s highly-anticipated opening would not only excite society’s middle and upper income earners but also the unemployed within the city.
The daily noted that New York’s unemployment rate is currently 9.7 per cent, significantly higher than the national average of 9.1 per cent.
“The need for jobs in the US is enormous and we see ourselves as having this tremendous ability to provide a lot of jobs,” Speller was quoted as saying.
He said over 1,400 construction workers are presently at work on the casino, each putting in 20-hour shifts and once opened, the facility will offer job opportunities to 1,350 individuals. At least 70 per cent of these will be set aside for residents in Queens.
To date, he said, over 35,000 people have applied for the posts.
The first of the RWNY parlour’s three casinos — the main Times Square casino — will open this October 31. The Central Park and Fifth Avenue casinos, on the other hand, will open in mid-December, in time to capitalise on the Christmas and New Year crowds. The daily added that Speller also overseas Genting’s second US venture in Florida, a lavish multibillion ringgit resort situated on the Miami waterfront.
The mega-project, costing some RM9.42 billion, boasts five hotels, two condominium towers and a rooftop lagoon.
“Resorts World Miami will be the crown jewel of the Miami waterfront, beautifully designed and stunning in every aspect, and we are just in the process of getting everything organised and under way,” Speller was quoted as saying.
Genting had earlier indicated its intention to include a casino in the project should lawmakers move to liberalise Florida’s gambling laws, stressing that the project would create thousands of jobs in the city and be a key potential contributor to tourism and local cash flow.