By Irving Dejohn
The media got a sneak peek on Monday at the second floor — set to open Friday — which racino officials hope will lure out-of-state gamblers to the South Ozone Park attraction.
Officials with Resorts World New York, which operates the racino at the Aqueduct racetrack, are touting it as a “conservative” alternative to the loud bells and bright lights of the first floor that opened in late October.
“The main difference is the finishes and it’s more comfortable,” said Resorts World President Michael Speller.
Seats at the terminals, which offer the same games as those on the first floor, will be reserved for patrons that meet certain benchmarks in frequency of visits and money spent, officials said. The pinnacle of Resorts World’s new opulent offerings is the Crockfords Casino, an invitation-only room where the wagers can go as high as $5,000 a pop, officials said. The Crockfords area has marble accents in its walkway, gold detailing on the ceiling and a private elevator.
“It’s a very private, upscale gaming experience,” Speller said. The third floor of the $880 million project is a 130,000-square-foot event space that will also open on Friday.
Speller said he has already fielded calls about the cavernous hall, which he said could be used for business meetings, concerts and other events.
“We could do some very exciting things in here,” he gushed.
Meanwhile, other phases of Resorts World’s capital development are moving at a slower pace. The opening of a “Skybridge,” designed to shepherd straphangers from the nearby A-train station to the racino without braving the elements, has been pushed back to early spring.
“We’re still in the design and construction phase,” Speller said.
The indoor walkway was originally slated to open in December and there are already signs on the casino floor that direct patrons to the passageway. The Aqueduct racino has earned more than $50 million since opening, state Lottery figures show. That money is divvied up between a state education fund, racino operators and others. But plans to use that income to erect hotels in the area and encourage long-term gamers aren’t in the pipeline, Speller said.
“We don’t have any plans for a hotel,” he said.