Monticello Casino & Raceway is reportedly not in any danger of closing despite the Feb. 8 opening of the new 1.6 million square foot, luxury five-star casino located in Thompson, Sullivan County, approximately 90 miles north of New York City.
The Times Herald-Record reports that several visitors who attended Thursday’s grand opening of the $920 million Resorts World Catskills wondered if the owner-operator of both properties, Empire Resorts, Inc. (NYNY:NASDAQ GM), would turn its back on the harness racing track and racino that opened its doors almost 60 years ago.
Not so says Charlie Degliomini, Executive Vice President of Governmental Affairs and Corporate Communications for Empire Resorts. “We think of it as a business that will still be active and vibrant,” said Degliomini.
According to Degliomini, who has been an employee or consultant of Empire Resorts, Inc. since 2004, the property which added the casino component in 2004 and currently offers approximately more than 1,000 video lottery terminals (VLTs) and 40 electronic table games including blackjack, roulette, three card poker and craps, all of the venue’s features will be maintained and it will continue to book musical acts, reports the Times Herald-Record.
Degliomini reportedly said that they [Empire Resorts] “definitely wanted to keep it open,” and that “There’s still jobs there.” He went on to say that about 200 people are employed by Monticello Casino & Raceway and that that level will be maintained, with some moving back and forth between it and Resorts World Catskills located just 10 minutes away.
Village Manager David Sager reportedly said that the racino’s VLTs provide Monticello with “substantial” revenue. He reportedly estimated that the village receives approximately $180,000 a year.
Sager went on to say that while he doesn’t think the racino will be a big-time draw for visitors to Resorts World Catskills, he said that he believes “certain people will be overwhelmed by the five-diamond resort casino” and visit it providing an opportunity for increased activity, according to the news agency.
Sager said he is hopeful that the continued presence of both Empire Resorts’ properties will be a catalyst for the return of visitors to the area.
Degliomini reportedly said that recently the company has made improvements to the racino including the successful replacement of the buffet with a sports bar, installing a new mini grandstand and relocating betting and horse racing operations nearer to the casino floor in order to create a more compact experience.
According to the Times Herald-Record, the opening of Resorts World Catskills has Degliomini feeling optimistic that the racino will be successful. While he did not give specific numbers, he reportedly described visitor turnout at the racino as “competitive,” and that they win their fair share of the market. He said, “it’s been steady and continues to improve.”