New York Daily News
The video slot machines at Aqueduct were churning out big dollars for the state last month — and are generating cash faster than initial projections.
Resorts World Casino generated a record $71.2 million in revenue during March, pumping $31.3 million into the state’s coffers, the Daily News has learned.
The revenue easily eclipsed the state’s previous high for a racetrack casino, a $59.8 million mark set by the same racino in July. “Everything is starting to click,” said Resorts World spokesman Stefan Friedman.
Friedman attributed to the boost in revenue to a combination of factors, including improved marketing and favorable weather in March that lacked major storms but was still cold enough to keep people from outdoor activities.
With the latest figures, the Queens gaming hall, which opened in October 2011, generated $696 million in total revenue for its 2012-13 fiscal year, which ended in March. Of that amount, $306 million went, by law, into state coffers to fund education.
Friedman said the racino’s first-year revenues topped Resorts World’s internal projections by $176 million for its first year.
The revenue growth comes as gaming revenues in other states — including neighboring New Jersey — have declined amid a still-struggling economy and a rapid rise in the number of legalized casinos.
Atlantic City casinos, which were also slammed by Hurricane Sandy last year, reported that profits fell by 27% during 2012.
“Resorts World has been the rather unique exception to the general rule,” said Prof. Clyde Barrow, a gaming expert at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. He said Resorts World’s success is primarily a function of its location in the massive New York City market.
But this gravy train is being slowly derailed: In 1997, there were 24 casinos and video slot parlors in the Northeast, Barrow said. There are 52 today.
“We’re fast approaching a saturation point in the Northeast market,” Barrow said.
Still, Gov. Cuomo has called for an expansion of legalized gaming in New York with up to four new casinos upstate.
A proposed constitutional amendment legalizing full-fledged casino gaming in New York was approved by the Legislature last year. It must be approved by the Legislature again this year before it is sent to the public for a vote.