CasinoCityTimes.com

Home
Gaming Strategy
Featured Stories
News
Newsletter
Legal News Financial News Casino Opening and Remodeling News Gaming Industry Executives Author Home Author Archives Author Books Search Articles Subscribe
author's picture
 

Ask the Slot Expert: A casino at Belmont Park?

6 October 2021

Question: Heard a casino is being built in Belmont Park Racetrack, Elmont, New York. Is that correct?

It's close to home....I would enjoy the fun.

Truly, Joan a fan of yours.......

Answer: Yes, Joan, it is correct that you heard that a casino was going to be built at Belmont Race Track.

Whether that casino will actually be built is not certain yet.

There have been rumblings about a casino at Belmont for a couple of years now. New York's voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2013 that allowed four full-fledged (Class III) casinos upstate right away and three downstate casinos in 2023. Newsday (a Long Island newspaper) published an article updated on September 30, 2019 that describes options for Belmont and Aqueduct Racetrack (in Queens, near JFK airport and about eight miles from Belmont). Some backers were promoting a plan that would make Belmont a "sports destination" with a new arena ("More restrooms per person than any arena in Metro New York") and an expanded horseracing schedule from moving the racing at Aqueduct so its casino could become a full-fledged casino, instead of a racino operated by the New York Lottery. The Shinnecock Indian Nation passed a resolution to explore opening a casino around the same time.

Fast forward two years. The Shinnecock Indian Nation presented their plan for development at Belmont (Developers Roll Out Preliminary Plan for Casino At Belmont Racetrack). You and many of your neighbors are in favor of a casino at Belmont. Not surprisingly, the operators of the upstate casinos are not in favor of a casino at Belmont -- or any downstate casino, for that matter. They're afraid that any downstate casino will siphon off some of their business.

Gee, ya think?

I'm reminded of when New Jersey approved gambling in Atlantic City in 1976 in an attempt to revitalize America's Playground. At the time, some people were afraid that casinos in Atlantic City would be devastating to the casinos in Las Vegas. Why would East Coasters fly thousands of miles to Nevada when a blackjack table in New Jersey was much closer?

Las Vegas went on to have one of its best decades ever in the 1990s by giving people what they couldn't get at the casinos in Atlantic City -- megaresorts. And better slot paybacks! Getting a taste of gambling in Atlantic City drove interest in going to the gambling mecca.

In the 2000s, New York, Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania -- all areas from which many Atlantic City visitors came -- legalized gambling. Atlantic City's casinos may have been bigger and glitzier than the casinos in those states, but we're not talking about a Caesars Las Vegas versus Caesars Atlantic City difference. The experience was pretty much the same, so many players who had gone to Atlantic City switched to a closer destination.

The amendment passed in 2013 allowed only four upstate casinos at first in an attempt to revitalize those areas, particularly The Catskills, which used to be a major tourist destination. (Does this sound familiar?)

The downstate (translation: New York City area) casinos will be allowed in two years, if the date isn't pushed forward. Once Class III gaming is offered near Manhattan, will people still travel to the upstate casinos? If the Atlantic Ocean isn't enough of a draw to get New Yorkers to travel to Atlantic City for Class III gaming instead of playing the Video Lottery Terminals at Resorts World at Aqueduct and Empire Casino at Yonkers Raceway, are the Catskills enough of a draw to get players to keep going to Resorts World Catskills?

Learning from Atlantic City, if players can get the same experience closer to home, they won't make a trip. It seems likely that downstate casinos will take away some of the upstate casinos' business.

Rather than a casino at Belmont, it may be more likely that all of the racing will be consolidated at Belmont and the casino at Aqueduct becomes a full-fledged casino (Placing bets on the future of Belmont Park). You may have a casino near you, but it may be at Aqueduct. We'll find out in a few years.

Thanks for being a fan.


Click here for the latest Covid data.

John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots