Tabitha Butts has been a security officer at Resorts World Casino for 10 years, a job she says has changed her life.
The state Legislature is looking at expanding Resorts World’s casino operations. Butts says the potential windfall could bring valuable jobs to the area.
“That would mean a lot for the community, especially the expansion, because that means more jobs, especially during a time like this with a pandemic,” said Butts, who lives in nearby East New York in Brooklyn.
Resorts World is the city’s only casino, but it can only offer slot machines and electronic table games.
Under state law, full-fledged Las Vegas-style casinos with dealers, live table games and sports betting privileges are banned downstate until 2023. The prohibition was passed in 2013 to allow four upstate casinos time to become established.
“We are in an extremely different time in 2021, post-pandemic, where the state is dying for an economic boost,” said Meghan Taylor, the vice president of Government Affairs and Public Relations for Resorts World Casino.
Once the moratorium expires, the state can authorize as many as three full-scale casinos downstate. Resorts World officials say because this casino is already established, it can become a full-scale casino virtually overnight.
“What that means is thousands of jobs being created almost immediately, and those thousands of jobs are for communities or really would be in communities that are in need of quality, high-paying jobs,” said Taylor.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said last month he didn’t want to make a “knee jerk reaction,” allowing full-scale casinos to open downstate ahead of 2023.
Senator Joseph Addabbo, who chairs the State Gaming Committee and whose district includes the Resorts World Casino, said, with state facing a multibillion-dollar deficit due to the pandemic, the casinos can provide needed tax revenue and jobs.
“Now is the time to obtain these one, two or three remaining gaming licenses in New York and not wait until the year 2023. To provide a transparent and credible process, which we could realize these expedited three gaming licenses this year,” said Addabbo.
Back at Resorts World, construction is nearly complete on its 400 room Hyatt Hotel. Staff hope if a gaming license is secured the Queens casino will become a destination to rival a Las Vegas casino.