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Queens Chronicle

State announces video table games for racinos

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Posted: Thursday, August 19, 2010 12:00 am

If the proposal by Genting New York to build a gaming facility at Aqueduct Race Track comes to fruition as is expected, visitors there will get a chance to try their hand at table games in addition to video slot machines.

It’s just that those table games will also be played on electronic screens.

The New York State Division of the Lottery announced it will begin testing Electronic Table Games which would be featured at the eight state-licensed gaming facilities at racetracks. The first ETGs are expected to debut next month at Saratoga Gaming and Raceway.

Currently, the gaming options at these facilities consist of video lottery terminals, which are akin to slot machines. With the rollout of the ETGs, gamers can now play video versions of two classic casino tables games, baccarat, a card game popularized through its frequent mentions in Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, and roulette.

Jennifer Givner, a spokeswoman for the Lottery, said a portion of the 4,500 video gaming machines at the proposed Genting casino at Aqueduct would be ETGs.

Givner said the state did not decide to allow video table games because of any requests from Genting, but rather to help New York facilities better compete with other gaming enterprises in neighboring states.

“This gives our casinos a chance to be more competitive,” she said. “This is market-driven; the casino operators will be able to see what their customers want.”

Exactly how many of Genting’s initial 1,600 video gaming machines will be electronic table games has not yet been determined.

Givner said the Lottery is currently testing the table game machines to see if they will be compatible with the Lottery system’s framework.

Gamers who want to play video baccarat and roulette can expect to see terminals much larger than their video slot counterparts.

Givner said the screens for the table games are around 50 inches, and multiple players will be able to sit in front of the same screen, much like if they were sitting at an actual casino table.

“They do take up more floor space than the VLTs,” she said.

Stefan Friedman, a spokesman with Genting, said a portion of the initial 1,600 electronic gaming machines will be of the table game variety.

Genting cleared one of the last hurdles to building its gaming and entertainment facility in Ozone Park when Gov. David Paterson, Senate Leader John Sampson (D-Brooklyn) and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) all signed off on the project last week.

Friedman said the proposal now only needs to be signed off on by the attorney general and state comptroller before the company can start building.

Genting officials have said it would take approximately six months from when the project begins construction for the first phase to open.

Among the proposed amenities for the facility are a 93,000-square-foot gaming area on the first floor and a 42,500-square-foot gaming area on the second floor, an entrance with a three-story atrium and water feature, and a 2,200-car-parking facility.

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