Finding things to do and staying entertained is something no visitor to New York City will ever complain about, although for those who find pleasure in wagering, the options can sometimes seem a little limited. Nevertheless, nestled amidst the Queens neighborhoods of South Ozone Park and Jamaica, a thriving gambling hub has kept people entertained for over 100 years and has evolved to keep pace with the latest trends.
Here we take a look at the Resorts World Casino and its home, the historic Aqueduct Racetrack, highlighting the attractions on offer and why they continue to be thriving entertainment venues in Queens.
Resorts World Casino NYC
Boasting the claim to fame of being New York City’s only casino is certainly an advantage for the Resort World Casino NYC, making it one of the most popular attractions in the borough of Queens with over 10 million visitors annually. What’s more, it’s also right next to the Aqueduct Racetrack complex, making the venue a gambler’s paradise for those who enjoy wagering on the horses and at the casino tables.
From the exclusive high-limit rooms such as the Baccarat Club, Fifth Avenue Club, and Crystal Cruises to the huge assortment of more than 4,400 slots, there’s plenty to keep everyone busy playing their favorite games. There are also plenty of classic table games on offer at the 330,300-square-foot venue, including baccarat, three-card poker, Texas Hold ’em, roulette and craps. Among the most popular is blackjack, with over 300 seats at the casino.
For those unfamiliar with the specifics of how blackjack is played, the Betway blackjack guide of game variants may prove helpful as there are slight dealer and wagering variants between the European and American versions of the game. All of these are commonly found at both land-based casinos and their online counterparts, so it’s always useful to know which you’re going to play before getting started.
It’s not just the gaming action that draws people to the Resorts World Casino. Bar 360 has quickly become a popular haunt for locals and visitors alike since the venue opened in 2011. Throughout the day, the biggest HDTV in Queens offers live sports year-round, with many more screens circling the main bar. There’s live music at night, as well as special guest performers and live DJ’s on weekends to really crank up the volume.
Originally opened in 1894 by the Queens County Jockey Club, this racetrack gained the “Aqueduct” name from the nearby former Brooklyn Waterworks conduit, which brought water from eastern Long Island to the Ridgewood Reservoir. Since 1955, the Aqueduct Racetrack has been under the control of the New York Racing Association and its predecessor, with their headquarters also located at the venue. The same organization also operates Belmont Park in Elmont and the Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs.
As the only racetrack located within New York City limits, Aqueduct Raceway currently boasts a seating capacity of 17,000 and overall capacity to host 40,000 racegoers. However, also known as the “Big A” among locals, this historic racing circuit has hosted much bigger crowds over the years, including 73,375 spectators for the Metropolitan Mile in May 1965. Iconic American racehorse Secretariat was retired at Aqueduct in November 1973, which also drew a big crowd of fans, all keen to bid a fond farewell to one of racing’s most famed and successful thoroughbred horses of all time.
Current facilities at the Aqueduct Raceway are impressive, with three courses available for races to be held. The circumference of the Main Track, which is classic dirt, stretches for 1 1/8 miles. Meanwhile, the two inner tracks are both fully turfed, with the outer course at 1 mile and the inner course measuring 7.065 furlongs. The stable area is also expansive, as the capacity of 547 stalls and 14 barns would suggest within the 210 acres of the site.
Racegoers can enjoy 36 graded stakes and 22 non-graded stakes, which are run at Aqueduct throughout the year, making the racecourse one of the most popular regular event locations in Queens, while facilities for patrons are just as impressive as they are for the horses and jockeys. Improving access for visitors with disabilities has been a keen focus over recent years, while there’s ample parking within 52 acres of dedicated space, plus excellent public transport links via bus and train.
If you’ll excuse the puns, we’d wager that it’s a safe bet there’s plenty to keep visitors entertained in this thriving and exciting corner of Queens.