September 12, 2022
By: Devin O’Connor
Resorts World Hudson Valley plans to open the doors to its 90,000-square-foot slots and electronic gaming hall this fall.
Resorts World Hudson Valley is taking the place of a former Bon-Ton department store at the Newburgh Mall in upstate New York. The facility will feature around 1,200 video lottery terminals (VLTs) and electronic table games, plus a sports bar where online sports betting through the Resorts World Bet app will be encouraged.
VLTs look, sound, and operate like slot machines, but differ in how they determine outcomes. While a slot machine uses a random number generator, a VLT spin result is calculated based on a central lottery system that links all of the casino’s terminals.
Empire acquired the racino in 1996 and operated it as a VLT casino racetrack until ceasing operations in early 2018. That February, the Malaysia-based gaming company opened Resorts World Catskills, a larger, full-scale commercial casino with Las Vegas-style slots and live dealer table games next to the Montecito racetrack.
Unlike Resorts World Catskills, which is predominantly an overnight destination, Empire says Resorts World Hudson Valley will be tailored toward locals and regional players.
“It’s quick and easy to get to off of the infrastructure and roadways we have right outside of our doors, as opposed to the Resorts World Catskills, where it is a luxury weekend getaway,” Meghan Taylor, Resorts World’s vice president of government affairs, told the Mid-Hudson News.
Taylor said there is no hotel or an abundance of dining options for players. Instead, the facility is gaming-oriented. She also hopes the VLT casino will lead to new investments in the largely vacant mall.
We hope we’re going to be a catalyst to drive redevelopment here at the mall,” Taylor commented.
The Newburgh Mall, like so many malls across the US, has seen better days. More than a quarter of the shopping center’s floor space has sat vacant since 2009. Sears, the mall’s longtime flagship anchor, plans to shutter after 43 years in business next month.
Once Sears says goodbye, two of the Newburgh Mall’s three anchor spaces will be vacant. Resorts World will claim the third anchor space.
Newburgh is about 30 miles east of Resorts World Catskills. The New York Gaming Commission in early 2021 signed off on Empire Resorts’ request to relocate its VLT license to Orange County. The casino operator said operating a VLT facility in the same county as its Catskills investment wouldn’t be a sound business decision.
The building of Resorts World Hudson Valley is employing 200 construction workers. Once opened, the casino is expected to employ more than 250 people. Resorts World Hudson Valley is currently fielding applications from interested job seekers.
Newburgh is set to receive a projected $3 million in local annual gaming revenue. That’s 10% of the town’s 2022 fiscal year government budget.
New York’s gaming law on VLT local share allocations requires towns only to use the gaming income to “defray local costs associated with a video lottery gaming facility, to reduce real property taxes, or to increase support for public schools.”