Orange County Partnership - News

  • Exterior Rendering of Resorts World Hudson Valley

Genting Proposes Video Gaming Machine Facility At Vacant Bon Ton Dept. Store at Newburgh Mall

By John Jordan


NEWBURGH—Orange County may have its own gaming facility in the Town of Newburgh, which would revitalize a struggling mall property and bring millions of dollars in direct and indirect revenues to the county.


Representatives of Genting Americas, the parent company of Resorts World Catskills casino in Monticello, officially presented plans to the Newburgh Town Board on Feb. 22 to locate a Video Gaming Machine facility at the Newburgh Mall here.


The $32-million “Resorts World Hudson Valley” project would convert 90,000 square foot of space at the mall, including the now vacant Bon Ton Department store, into the VGM facility that would feature approximately 1,300 VGMs and Resort World’s signature lounge—Bar 360.


The proposed VGM facility at the 388,000 square foot regional shopping center that is located at the crossroads of Interstates 84 and 87 at the intersection of Route 300, would be leased from the mall property owner. Resorts World Hudson Valley states it would contribute $3 million annually through a Host Community Benefit Agreement to the Town of Newburgh and an estimated $65 million annually to support public schools through statutory payments to the New York Lottery Education Fund.


Other economic benefits of the project touted by Genting include: approximately 215 new full-time jobs, the large majority of which would be union employees, and an additional 200 construction jobs. The average annual wage for full time employees would be $72,000/year (including salary and benefits), the company stated.


Resorts World had floated a plan to develop a VGM facility at the former Nepera Chemical plant property in Harriman, but has since abandoned the project in favor of the Newburgh Mall due to higher than anticipated property cleanup costs at the Nepera site, according to a Facebook posting by New York State Sen. James Skoufis (D-39). That project had been estimated to cost approximately $100 million to develop.


Senator James Skoufis (D-39th Distirct) said, “When Resorts World first approached me nearly two years ago seeking support for a proposal to bring a gaming center to Orange County, I made my priorities clear to them: jobs, revitalizing a blight, and local community benefits. This project does all three."


“We are elated at the opportunity to help revitalize the Newburgh Mall, create good-paying union jobs for local residents, and generate significant revenue for New York State’s public schools,” said Bob DeSalvio, President of Genting Americas East. “This potential investment and our vision for what we seek to develop and build with Resorts World Hudson Valley underscores our unwavering commitment to the communities in this region and our strong belief that the best days are ahead of us.”


Genting Americas currently operates Resorts World New York City (RWNY) and Resorts World Catskills (RWC), employing over 2,000 union members between the two properties. Since opening in 2011, RWNY has generated more than $3 billion for New York’s public schools through the Lottery’s education fund.


A host of public and business officials released statements of support for the project, including Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, who said, “The proposed plans for Resorts World Hudson Valley delivers on the commitment Genting made to Orange County. It is an investment in jobs, in growth and in the future of Orange County, and it will have an immediate—and positive—impact at a time when we need it the most.”


Maureen Halahan, president and CEO of The Orange County Partnership, said, “Resorts World is making a monumental investment in Orange County, in the Town of Newburgh. Not only will they be hiring local labor, paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes and creating good jobs, their presence will breathe new life into the Newburgh Mall, reviving the corridor which will result in new opportunity. This is a win-win for all during uncertain economic times.”


Town of Newburgh Supervisor Gil Piaquadio added, “We look forward to working with Resorts World through the process to create a new destination in Newburgh that benefits residents and small businesses alike.”


Todd Diorio, president of the Hudson Valley Building & Construction Trades Council, said, “We are focused on getting our members back to work after our economy was crippled by the pandemic and this project accomplishes exactly that. Genting has always been a great partner for the union trades and we look forward to continuing to build upon that relationship with the construction of Resorts World Hudson Valley.”


Diorio said that Genting and the Hudson Valley Building & Construction Trades Council are in final negotiations on a Project Labor Agreement on the Resorts World Hudson Valley facility and that both sides are committed to finalizing the PLA in short order. Construction on the project is anticipated to take between six to 12 months to complete. Genting and the building trades crafted a PLA on the construction of the Resorts World Catskills project in Monticello.


Genting Americas currently operates Resorts World New York City and Resorts World Catskills, employing more than 2,000 union members between the two properties. Since opening in 2011, RWNY has generated more than $3 billion for New York’s public schools through the Lottery’s education fund.


Resorts World Catskills casino resort in Monticello includes an 18-story all-suite hotel, and a casino featuring 100,000 square feet of gaming space, including 150 live Las-Vegas style table games, 1,600 state-of-the art slot machines, a poker room, private gaming salons and a 100-seat sportsbook lounge. The casino resort also offers 10 varied bar and restaurant experiences, which includes an Italian steakhouse created by celebrity chef Scott Conant, and year-round live entertainment at the 2,500-seat RW Epicenter, casino bars and lounges.


The hotel located within Resorts World Catskills is comprised of 332 suites, the Crystal Life Spa, two indoor pools, and two fitness centers. The integrated casino resort also includes additional stay and play destinations on its campus, including The Alder, an adjacent 101-room lifestyle hotel featuring the first Topgolf Swing Suites in New York State, and Dos Gatos, a cantina-style Mexican eatery and the recently opened Kartrite Resort and Indoor Waterpark, and will be expanded to include a Rees Jones redesigned golf course.


Resorts World Catskills had operated a VGM facility at the Monticello Raceway property, but closed operations there a little over a year after it first opened the doors to the full gaming facility at Resorts World Catskills on Feb. 8, 2018.


The plan for the new VGM facility comes as New York State contemplates moving up the timeline on the development of up to three downstate casinos in the New York metro region, that could include the award of full gaming licenses at Resorts World New York (at Aqueduct Racetrack) in Queens and Empire City Casino in Yonkers. The decision to move up the timetable is due in large part to the state budget deficit caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has been pegged at between $8 billion to as high as $15 billion.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his State of the State address reported that he intends to issue a Request for Information for interested parties in securing up to three of the remaining casino gaming licenses in Downstate New York (New York City metro region) to be granted by New York State.


While further details were not released, the New York State Gaming Commission noted that the proposal, if part of the state budget, would have to be approved by the State Legislature by the end of the fiscal year (March 31, 2021). While the Gaming Commission offered no further information or a timeline on when those licenses might be approved, it did release a study on Monday Jan. 27 undertaken by Spectrum Gaming Group, on the impact of downstate casino gaming and mobile sports betting on the state’s economy and the potential windfall in revenues the new facilities could bring to state government. The governor has also proposed the legalization of mobile sports betting as a revenue source to help offset the impact of the coronavirus in the 2022 state budget, as well as the legalization of recreational marijuana.


The addition of up to three casino gaming facilities in the New York City metro region that might include: Empire City Casino in Yonkers, Resorts World New York at Aqueduct Raceway in Queens—both operating as Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) facilities—and perhaps at the new Belmont complex in Nassau County or at a site to be developed in Manhattan, would definitely impact customer traffic at Resorts World Catskills in Sullivan County and at other existing upstate casinos. If the downstate initiative does move forward, the state would be beginning the process early, since the state’s gaming law bans the award of downstate casino licenses until 2023. The measure was intended to allow the upstate casinos to establish a client base before they faced competition from downstate facilities.


Among some of the highlights of the Spectrum Gaming Group’s report on downstate gaming and mobile sports betting include:


  • Downstate counties show the greatest potential for growth in Gross Gaming Revenue, ranging from $970 million to $4.49 billion for New York City, and $606 million to $1.13 billion for Long Island. The potential of the New York City market could be captured by the addition of new gaming facilities. The potential of the Metro-North region may be realized by the addition of an already-approved Orange County video lottery gaming facility, as well as through expansion of gaming further Downstate. Spectrum indicates that such expansion might have negative impacts on existing gaming facilities.


  • In light of the economic fallout from COVID-19, the State of New York could opt to delay, for an undetermined period, the decision to authorize the three commercial casinos in the Downstate region, the report stated.


  • Spectrum recommended that a competitive bid process be utilized to arrive at the most optimal result for the state based upon a review of the economic, fiscal, and social implications of the awarding of up to three additional commercial casino licenses.


  • Job growth in the gaming sector from 2015-2020 has been significant, as total employment at casinos and video-lottery gaming facilities grew from 12,000 jobs in 2015 to 15,700 jobs in 2020, of which roughly 3,400 are at the four commercial casinos that make up the Upstate expansion properties. Spectrum estimated that there are 32,000 people employed in the entire sector. While upstate expansion accounted for 17% of total employment, it accounted for 75% of growth from 2015-2000.


  • Spectrum’s analysis concludes the state’s gaming industry will slowly recover from the pandemic, returning to pre-COVID-19 levels in 2023.


  • With respect to mobile sports betting, Spectrum indicated that stabilization of revenue will occur three to five years after commencement. The firm’s analysis concluded that at a 10% tax rate, retail and mobile sports wagering would generate between $72 million to $104 million in tax revenue to the state. The proposal advanced by the FY 2022 Executive Budget uses the same gross revenue estimate to generate upwards of $500 million for education. The estimate assumes that the tribal sports wagering operators will not be able to generate meaningful market share.


Commenting on the release of the gaming report, New York State Gaming Commission spokesman Brad Maione stated, “This report provides a valuable tool for the Commission and policy makers to use as discussions continue on the future of the gaming industry in New York. This report should assist with making sound fiscal decisions.”