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Queens Chronicle

Resorts World to open its final two casinos

As more people expected to come, residents call for more security

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Posted: Thursday, December 15, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 5:10 am, Wed Dec 24, 2014.

If you build it, they will come.

And come. And come.

About 18,000 people are flooding the Resorts World New York City Casino in South Ozone Park daily, and more are sure to arrive once the group opens its facility’s final phase at 1 p.m. on Friday, including two more casinos and the largest event space in Queens, RWNYC President Michael Speller said.

“This is a fantastic space,” Speller said on Monday, when members of the media got a sneak peek at the Fifth Avenue Casino, which will be open to the public; the invite-only Crockfords Casino; and the 70,000-square-foot Central Park space, which will hold concerts, trade shows and weddings, among other events.

More than 65,000 people attended the opening weekend of the Times Square Casino, located next to the Aqueduct Racetrack at 110-00 Rockaway Blvd., and RWNYC officials placated many residents frustrated by the crowds by assuring them there would be plenty of space for them once the second floor opened.

“This is designed to target the kind of customer who’s going out of state for the gaming experience,” Speller said of the Fifth Avenue Casino, which includes 2,240 video lottery terminals and 270 electronic table games. “They’re going to Jersey. They’re going to Vegas. They’re going to Connecticut. They’re going to Pennsylvania. That’s all money leaving the state.”

The Fifth Avenue Casino, located on the floor above the Times Square venue, will also include a Chinese restaurant, steak house and bar. The Crockfords Casino is for VIP guests by invitation only and will include a private entrance, 64 video lottery terminals, 14 electronic table games and a lounge. The Central Park event space is located on the third floor.

Resorts World has spent about $880 million to open the facility —about $150 million more than expected, Speller said.

“Outside you can see where a lot of that money went,” Speller said. “We’ve built these beautiful outdoor terraces with views of the track.”

State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) said he’s looking forward to the opening, though he has addressed concerns about safety with Speller.

“People want to see security,” Addabbo said. “They have a great security system and detail, but people want to see a security presence to supplement the cameras. Mike Speller addressed these concerns, and he talked about hiring additional security.”

Richmond Hill South Civic Association President Margaret Finnerty agreed with Addabbo that there are security issues.

“I’d like to see more security in the casino,” she said. “I feel there’s not enough, and you have a lot kids coming in because the age limit is 18. It’s not just a place to hang out. There haven’t been any incidents, but I don’t want to see any. If people aren’t gambling, they need to be moved along.”

Speller said there have been no “security issues” on site or in the parking lot, adding “we have great support from the New York Police Department, if we need it.”

While the city has not allocated more permanent officers to the 106th in light of the casino opening, Addabbo is optimistic more cops are coming its way once the new police class graduates in 2012.

Community Board 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton said, while there have been issues with traffic, RWNYC officials, the city and civic leaders have been working hard to work on them.

“The traffic is a big issue, but there have been steps taken toward minimizing it,” Braton said. “For example, a simple change on their web page means that people looking at directions are, instead of being sent to Rockaway Boulevard, being told the parkway access is there.”

Finnerty said traffic has been of particular concern during the morning rush hour.

“It’s difficult to get on Rockaway,” she said. “It can be bumper to bumper.”

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