Construction begins on Aqueduct casino

It only took close to a decade, but ground was finally broken Thursday on a slot machine casino for the Aqueduct Race Track in New York City.

New York Gov. David Paterson and the chairman of Malaysia-based Genting International were joined by New York state and local representatives in the ceremony commemorating the start of construction of Resorts World New York.

The casino will eventually house 4,525 slot machine-like video lottery terminals, two restaurants and a skybridge connecting the facility to a subway stop at Aqueduct.

Genting, which operates Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore, hopes to have a portion of the casino open by the spring with 1,600 video slot machines. The company promised New York officials it would spend $1.3 billion on the development.

New York expects the casino will contribute more than $300 million annually in tax revenues.

Genting Chairman K.T. Lim called Thursday’s ground breaking, “One of the proudest days in the history of the Genting organization.”

Paterson said the casino would help the state recover from the recession.

Genting won the rights to develop Resorts World New York with a bid that included a $380 million, one-time payment to the state.

New York had wanted to add a casino to Aqueduct since 2001. Two separate deals fell apart before Genting won the contract from New York Lottery officials earlier this year.