On June 23, actor Dick Van Patten died in Santa Monica, California at the age of 86. The famed actor starred in hit movies and shows like “Freaky Friday,” “Eight is Enough,” “Spaceballs” and “Robin Hood, Men in Tights.”
Van Patten was also a huge horse racing fan. A native New Yorker, he spent a lot of time at Aqueduct Racetrack with his father growing up. The racetrack fueled his passion for the sport. Van Patten ended up purchasing his first Thoroughbreds in 1946 at the age of 18. When he move to California, he eventually had his own small stables and a number of horses trained by Bill Spawr.
His publicist Jeffrey Ballard once spoke to TMZ saying, “the only time Dick Van Patten runs is down the stretch at the racetrack when his horses are winning.”
On June 10, 1944, in front of a crowd nearing 26,000 people, there was a dead heat tie for first place at Aqueduct Racetrack. Horses Brownie, Bossuet and Wait a Bit were ridden by Eddie Guerin, Jimmy Stout and Gayle Smith. The crowd was first split as to who actually won the race, but with the help of a clear magic-eye camera, it was determined that each horse crossed the line at the same time.
Senator Joe Addabbo continues to push for full-fledged casinos in New York State after a recent poll from Siena College revealed that fifty-seven percent of New Yorkers support a constitutional amendment to allow non-Indian casinos to be build in New York while only 36 percent opposed the initiative.
Another poll issued by Quinnipac University also revealed that 56 percent of New Yorkers support full casino gaming, similar to that at Atlantic City and Las Vegas.
“Rather than see the money keep going to Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Indian casinos upstate, in this stagnant economy, I believe we must start the process, including public input, for the expansion of VLT racinos into full casino gaming to increase our revenues,” Addabbo said in a statement.
The first of 4,525 Video Lottery Terminals were delivered to Resorts world Casino New York City this week, marking an exciting new phase of the casino’s development, casino executives announced.
The VLTs will be installed and individually tested on the gaming floor — the core of the casino action – during the next weeks. When phase one of Resorts World Casino New York City opens in October, it will boast 2,280 VLTs, entertainment and delectable dining. The second phase will open by the end of the year and will feature 2,245 additional VLTs as well as more dining options and unparalleled event space.
“This is an exciting development; we are on the path towards creating a world-class entertainment destination,” said Michael Speller, president of Resorts World Casino New York City. “The video lottery terminals, which are a cornerstone of our casino, have been in our mind’s eye for nearly a year, and we are happy that the public will soon share our vision. We are in the final stage and are thrilled that Resorts World Casino New York City will welcome its guests to an optimum experience.”
If all goes well, the planned racino at Aqueduct might sooner or later become a casino.
For now, when it opens on Oct. 1, the Resorts World New York casino have only video lottery terminals (VLTs) for its patrons to play.
But Genting, the casino’s owner, wants to incorporate a Las Vegas-style casino with table games for the establishment’s gamblers. Genting has begun lobbying state officials to permit table games at its soon-to-be-opened Aqueduct casino facility. According to media reports, Genting is spending $1 million a year with lobbyists in Albany in this effort.
“We have table games in the surrounding three states (New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania),” Michael Speller, president of Resorts World New York, said during a State Senate Racing Committee hearing on February 7 of this year.
The committee is considering a proposal for a constitutional amendment to permit table games. Currently, state legislation only authorizes the Aqueduct casino to have VLTs, so a constitutional amendment would be required for the casino to have table games
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) will be the subject of yet another audit by the state comptroller’s office. This will be the third audit of the agency since 2008.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said he wants to take another look at NYRA’s books to determine whether it has appropriately followed his recommendations from two earlier audits that called for significant cost reductions, including salaries and consultant fees.
NYRA, according to its 2011 budget, expects to see an $11 million deficit this year after a $17 million operating deficit last year. NYRA has not posted a profit since 2000.
The agency is counting heavily on new gaming revenues from the Aqueduct casino to become profitable again. It is expected to receive at least $25 million annually for operating costs and capital improvement projects from thousand of video lottery terminals that will be installed.
The state Inspector General is also reviewing NYRA’s books.
Resorts World New York Casino patrons will have an additional layer of security as they come and go to the trains in the form of city transit officers.
Captain Roy Kaplan, commanding officer of Transit District 23, told members of the 106th Precinct Community Council at their meeting last week that once the casino opens he will be directing his resources to the local train stations and the surrounding area.
Kaplan said he would work hand in hand with 106th Precinct commanding officer Captain Thomas Pascale to coordinate security at the South Ozone Park casino.