New casino opens in Catskills after decades of waiting

NEW YORK — A casino supporters hope will deliver an economic jackpot to a faded resort area in the Catskills opened Thursday in an increasingly competitive market.

Resorts World Catskills debuted with 112 table games and more than 2,150 slot machines in the heart of the old ‘‘Borscht Belt,’’ about 80 miles northwest of New York City. The $1.2 billion resort in Monticello includes a hotel and the fourth of four Las Vegas-style upstate casinos opening under a voter-approved amendment to the state constitution.

The casino caps decades of work by locals who hope gambling will help revive an area that used to be a magnet for tourists, many of them Jewish families from the New York City area. The big hotels and bungalow colonies that once thrived in the lake-laden region are mostly closed now.


‘‘Can we bring this region back to life? Absolutely,’’ said casino executive vice president Charles Degliomini.

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Resorts World is expected to draw gamblers from the lucrative New York City-area market, but it opens amid signs that the increasing number of casinos are eating into one another’s business.

A report from Moody’s Investors Service last month said the Catskills casino would be opening in a ‘‘very tough gaming market’’ with established competitors in New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. The success of Resorts World will be tied to growing the market and attracting customers from competitors, according to the report.

Meanwhile, slot machine and table game revenue from the new casinos in the Finger Lakes, the Southern Tier, and Schenectady initially fell short of the optimistic revenue projections operators produced when applying for licenses.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said the new casino will bring 4 million visitors to the Catskills each year.


New York also is home to five full-scale Indian casinos and 10 ‘‘racino’’ horse tracks with video lottery terminals.

associated press