| Times Herald-Record
Resorts World is offering the Town of Newburgh $3 million a year in host-community payments as part of its proposal to open a gambling hall with 1,300 video gaming machines in the Newburgh Mall.
Representatives of the casino operators introduced their plans to the Newburgh Town Board Monday night, saying the new operation would employ 200 to 225 full-time workers. Roughly 200 construction workers would labor on the $32 million project to turn a 68,877-square-foot section of the indoor mall into Resorts World Hudson Valley.
The Times Herald-Record reported on Feb. 5 that Resorts World – which operates casinos in Sullivan County and Queens – had chosen that mall location near the intersection of the Thruway and Interstate 84 after dropping its initial plans to build a video gaming parlor in Woodbury. The company has been authorized by the state since 2019 to open an Orange County facility to house the electronic slot machines that previously were licensed at Monticello Raceway.
Resorts World made those intentions public on Monday by making its first formal pitch to Newburgh’s Town Board, which would have to amend its zoning to allow gambling.
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Among the new details revealed during that presentation and in an accompanying press release were the $3 million in payments the company has offered the town. They consist of 1 million a year for any municipal purposes, $500,000 a year for public safety and $1.5 million for community projects. Those amounts would rise by 5 percent every 10 years.
Resorts World plans to sign a 65-year lease with the mall owners. Robert DeSalvio, president of parent company Genting Americas East, predicted the gambling hall would super-charge a struggling mall that he said had 17 vacant store spaces when he last toured it. Since the casino will have no restaurants, gamblers will likely stream into the mall for meals, he said.
“I think these new restaurateurs and retailers will be all over this,” he said.
He discounted concerns that gambling would attract crime, saying the casino would be protected by in-house security, surveillance cameras that blanket the room and the close relationship Resorts World typically maintains with local police departments.
“We get a reputation as a place where you do not want to have a crime near,” he said.
Asked if the company was willing to negotiate the host fees it offered, DeSalvio called the offer generous and said it was what it the Resorts World board had authorized him to present.
“That’s a nice way of saying that’s not really negotiable,” he said.
Resorts World estimates the Newburgh casino would generate $65.6 million a year to support public schools in New York through an arrangement with the state that entitles it to a share of the gambling proceeds.
The 40-year-old Newburgh Mall is on Route 300, near the interchange where the Thruway meets I-84. Resorts World Hudson Valley would occupy a space that used to be a Bon-Ton department store and has housed a Jennifer Furniture outlet since Aug. 1.
Resorts World pledged to give preference to local residents when hiring for the casino and said most workers will be represented by a union. The average salary and benefits would be worth about $72,000 a year. Local colleges would be enlisted to provide training.
In a press release from Resorts World, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus called the casino “an investment in jobs, in growth and in the future of Orange County” and said it would have “an immediate – and positive – impact at a time when we need it the most.”
State Sen. James Skoufis, a Cornwall Democrat who helped negotiate a state budget addition in 2019 that allowed a video gambling hall to open in Orange County, said in a statement that the Newburgh project met all three of his goals by offering jobs, “revitalizing a blight” and providing community benefits.