It wasn’t the Oscars, but it sure felt like it.
Hundreds of people — elected officials, members of the media, business leaders, civic leaders — drove up to the front entrance of Resorts World Casino New York City and stepped out into the abnormally frigid October air.
As the cold morning turned into afternoon, the big red ribbon was cut and a new industry arrived in Queens.
That was one year ago. This week the casino will celebrate its first anniversary in business at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Resorts World’s first gaming floor, the Times Square Casino — along with its buffet and food court — opened for business one year ago this Friday. Its Fifth Avenue Casino and RW Prime Steakhouse and Genting Palace restaurant opened two months later, as did the Central Park events floor.
In the year since the casino opened its doors, its presence in the neighborhood has yielded a wide array of reactions; from excitement about a new entertainment venue so close to home, to anger and concern over what the casino could bring to the neighborhood in terms of traffic and crime. However, many of those concerns have been unfounded.
Although traffic tied up surrounding roadways during the casino’s first couple of weekends in business, that problem subsided over time. On the crime issue, Deputy Inspector Thomas Pascale, commanding officer of the 106th Precinct, which includes the casino, said in June that despite a small rise in crime in the precinct’s communities, the casino has not contributed to it and police have worked well with the casino’s security on issues at the site since its opening.
Resorts World won the bragging rights of being the most profitable casino in the country in the last year, outranking Atlantic City and Connecticut casinos.
In its first year, the casino raked in over $653 million in total revenue, with $435 million going to the state in taxes and roughly $279 million of that going to education. Genting has paid over $815 million in taxes to the state, including the $350 million upfront payment it made last year as part of the company’s contract with the Divison of the Lottery to build and operate the casino and other payments.
The casino also expects to serve its 10 millionth customer by the end of the month.
Resorts World spokesman Stefan Friedman said more than 1,750 people are employed at the casino, nearly 1,000 more than the company had originally estimated. Though the casino has been criticized for not meeting its goal of hiring 70 percent of its workforce from Queens — the estimated percentage from Queens is around 60 percent — Resorts World said that in terms of raw numbers, it has hired far more Queens residents than it had planned.
The casino plans to celebrate its first anniversary today, Oct. 25, with a guest appearance by Cat Greenleaf, host of NBC’s Talk Stoop, and a performance from the China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe, as well as a performance to unveil Resorts World Casino’s official first year anthem.
At the event, the casino will present a $500,000 check to be split among 37 different local organizations — part of the agreement Genting has with the state to donate 1 percent of its earnings to the community.
Here is the list of groups receiving checks from the new foundation, “Genting Gives,” on Thursday.
South Queens Boys & Girls Club; Lincoln Center Local Queens Library Partnership; Queens YMCA: Flushing/ Jamaica; City Meals on Wheels; Met Council; Million Trees NYC / Restoration Project Queens; The Museum of Chinese in America; United Black Men of Queens and Vicinity; Sanctuary for Families; InMotion; Youth and Tennis; City Harvest; Louis Armstrong House Museum / Queens College; New York Chinese Cultural Center; Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund; The Cooke Center for Learning and Development; Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corp.; SUNY Educational Oppurtuinty Center – Queens; Garden of Hope; Indo-China Sino-American Community Center 9; Queens Community House Queens Center for Gay Seniors; School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center; Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Community Center, Inc.; The Salah M. Hassanein Variety Boys and Girls Club; Advocates for Children; Queens Council on the Arts; Chinese American Planning Council; A Better Jamaica; Dominico American Society of Queens; Extreme Kids & Crew; New York Families of Autistic Children; Sikh Coalition; Anna House/ Belmont Child Care Association; Dress for Success; Youth America Inc. and River Fund.