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Monday, October 31, 2011
A new era at Aqueduct

By Bob Ehalt

When the New York racing season resumes on Friday, longtime patrons of Aqueduct Racetrack will meet their much-ballyhooed new neighbors.

The Resort World Casino New York City opened this past Friday at Aqueduct, and judging by the early returns all of the lofty expectations about the revenue it will generate were not exaggerated.

You can write it down in ink. The days of the Big A being a quiet, cozy place are officially over.

Well, perhaps the racetrack side of the complex will not have to sweat out visits by the fire marshals, but the traffic, the parking and the flow of people in and out of the grounds is going to be a shock to the system of longtime visitors who used to have the place to themselves.

According to a New York Daily News report, the opening afternoon of business at the casino saw a crowd of 15,000 inside the sparkling new gambling palace with another 5,000 waiting -- some in vain -- to get in.

There was such a crush of people that the casino operators, Genting Group, sent out an advisory that the slot lovers in the Big Apple should wait until next week to drop their change into machines that some folks know as one-armed bandits.

Imagine that. A business telling you they are doing so well that you should stop by next week, if you’re in the area. Not even Wal-Mart does that.

The flip side of all this for racing fans is that in time -- probably at the first of the year – a portion of that cash will filter into purses and racing should be richer, bigger and better than ever. That’s the plan, anyway.

How it works out remains to be seen, but for starters, the new kids on the blocks at Aqueduct are delivering on what they promised -- and then some.

Get ready for an interesting winter at the Big A.