Crain’s New York
Resorts World Casino in Queens will be a free bus ride away starting tomorrow, Oct. 16, for the throngs of tourists in Manhattan who have no idea the racino exists.
On Wednesday, the racino, which includes a race track, will be rolling out 12 buses that will run from Monday though Sunday from 10 A.M. to 12 A.M. every 30 to 45 minutes from central destinations, including Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Columbus Circle and several hotels. They will run continuously between Manhattan and Queens.
The bright red coach buses—called Red Express—are meant to increase the racino’s accessibility from Manhattan, where most of the city’s 52 million annual visitors stay. But less than 10% of the casino’s customers come from Manhattan.
“We are aggressive when it comes to marketing our property,” said Ed Farrell, president of Resorts World Casino. “And we are confident that there are enough people who want to use this service.”
The casino is rolling the dice that tourists agree. It plunked down $3.6 million to purchase the 40-passenger vehicles, which will cost $4 million a year to operate—or a drop in the bucket for the casino which spent $80 million last year on marketing the two-year-old property.
Crains New York
Resorts World, owned by Malaysian gambling conglomerate Genting Americas, wanted to start the service this summer. But it was delayed because the custom-made buses, featuring leather chairs, restrooms, high ceiling heights, drop-down televisions every three or four rows and wireless Internet service took longer than expected to be delivered. The amenities may be a comfort when gamblers are stuck in traffic on the Van Wyck or Grand Central Parkway.
There will be a West Side route that starts at W. 96th St. and Columbus Ave.; an East Side route starting at W. 96th St. and Lexington Ave.; and a midtown route starting at Grand Central Terminal. The buses will make four or five stops in Manhattan and then run express through Queens. The buses are operated by Brooklyn-based Trans Express Inc.
Resorts World also offers subsidized bus service in Queens and Brooklyn, where some operators charge for the service and some offer it for free, but the Manhattan fleet is the only one that the casino owns.
“We bring in around 3,000 people a day on buses,” said Mr. Farrell. “In Manhattan, we’ll have the capacity to bring in 1,000 people a day.”
The casino is launching a major advertising campaign on Wednesday, when it will be cutting a ribbon in the morning at Lincoln Center for the inaugural run.