- Suffolk OTB rolling the dice on new casino to fight bankruptcy
- Soft launch shows promise despite some local resistance
Suffolk OTB opened Long Island’s first video lottery casino ‘Jake’s 58’ on Monday, despite some opposition and controversy.
With a modest selection of 265 video lottery terminals, the new hotel and casino entertained hundreds of gamblers when games opened at 1pm.
Owners betting on job-creating move.
Suffolk OTB or Off-Track Betting are making a big stake of their own, hoping to stave off bankruptcy with the exciting new casino, which can be found on the north service road of the Long Island Expressway. Company officials are expecting profits of around $164.25 million per annum from the new facility, which would counteract an existing $15 million debt. They hope the casino will save 250 jobs even as it creates 250 more, provided it’s successful.
The casino is currently in a ‘soft launch’ state with only 265 gaming terminals, but Jake’s 58 general manager Chuck Kilroy hopes to add 34 next month and expand the selection to 1,000 by summer, which will be good news for customers.
Dozens of customers were already lined up in the hotel before the betting parlor opened, which itself was only hours after the state Gaming Commission issued a certificate allowing the opening. “It’s a great day,” said Suffolk OTB vice president Tony Pancella. “It’s important for the county…because of the jobs we created and the jobs we saved.”
Casino undaunted by potential opposition
The new casino faces opposition from parties, including local Islandia residents, who have filed a suit for closure. The suit is based on Village of Islandia code which they claim prohibits casinos, in addition to claims that the Village Board approved the casino last year without a written resolution or traffic studies. However, Village officials have called the lawsuit a “scare tactic.”
The soft launch has attracted considerable attention with just word of mouth. Customers staying at the 227-room hotel can look forward to games like Sphinx, ZZ Top and Shadow of the Panther, as well as a waiter service.
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