Resorts World Targets Newburgh Mall, as Shopping Stores Continue to Attract Casinos

Posted on: February 7, 2021, 12:28h. 

Last updated on: June 7, 2021, 09:59h.

Resorts World Catskills is targeting the Newburgh Mall for a gaming space with video lottery terminals (VLTs).

Resorts World mall casino New York
The remaining Bon-Ton department stores, like this one at the mall in Camillus, New York, went out of business in 2018. Their buildings have become attractive for casino operators, the latest being Resorts World. (Image: The Post-Standard)

The casino resort owned by Malaysia-based Genting Group recently announced its plans to renovate a former Bon-Ton department store into a commercial gaming venue. The shopping center is located at the convergence of two major thoroughfares — Interstates 84 and 87.

Newburgh is roughly 60 miles north of New York City, and 90 miles south of the Albany capital.

Developing a video gaming machine facility in Orange County has, for many years, been part of Resorts World’s long-term vision for Hudson Valley and the Catskills,” a Genting statement first issued to the Times Herald-Record explained.

“It will create hundreds of good-paying unions jobs, generate significant revenue for New York’s public schools, and is an important step in ensuring the long-term sustainability of Resorts World Catskills,” the release added.

Similar in appearance to classic slot machines or as simulated classic table games, video lottery terminals are linked to a centralized system maintained by the New York Gaming Commission. Winning outcomes for VLTs are transmitted by the central system. 

VLT Rights Came with Casino License

Empire Resorts, a subsidiary of Genting, acquired the Monticello Raceway in the Catskill Mountains in 1996. The racetrack offered VLTs until Resorts World opened in 2018.

Empire, which is the immediate parent company to Resorts World Catskills, was permitted by the New York Gaming Commission to relocate its VLT operations under its commercial casino licensing. Empire’s $1.2 billion bid beat out eight other submissions.

With Resorts World Catskills offering 1,600 slot machines, Empire closed VLT operations at the adjacent Monticello Raceway after the casino’s opening. Since then, the company has been scouting locations for a new VLT venue. Company executives believe they’ve found an ideal spot at the Newburgh Mall.

The former Bon-Ton space measures 68,877 square feet. It’s been occupied by a Jennifer Furniture outlet since August 1. The mall didn’t respond to inquiries regarding whether Jennifer plans to move out.

Empire will present its plans, including how many VLTs it will include in the space, to the Newburgh Town Board on February 22.

Casinos Rescue Malls

The mall business has been dying for many years. With online shopping at record levels, brick-and-mortar stores and mall anchor tenants have closed in large numbers.

Regional casinos have recently targeted vacant malls.

In Pennsylvania, three so-called satellite casinos are opening inside malls in Westmoreland, York, and State College.

Live! Casino Pittsburgh opened last year at the Westmoreland Mall in what was formerly a Bon-Ton. Penn National Gaming is renovating a former Sears store in York into what will become Hollywood Casino York. Bally’s is underway with plans to build a casino at the Nittany Mall near Penn State University.

In Virginia, Hard Rock International is spending $400 million to transform a former Belk department store at the Bristol Mall into a casino resort and hotel. And developers in Illinois, partnered with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, are trying to gain licensure to build a casino at the former site of the Lincoln Mall.