On Monday February 27, Long Island opened its first ever casino in Islandia, after years of debate about the location of the new video lottery casino. Despite only opening with 265 out of the 1,000 games expected to be ready by summer, Jake’s 58 Hotel & Casino drew hundreds of people who were eager to grab some drinks and try their hand at the electronic slots.
The hotel was formerly known as the Islandia Marriott Long Island, but was bought last year by Buffalo-based Delaware North, who was working under contract with Suffolk Off-track Betting Corp. The Suffolk OTB joined forces with Delaware North over the past year in an attempt to erect the facility. The purpose of the casino is an attempt bye The Suffolk OTB to generate enough revenue to escape bankruptcy.
What to Expect From Jake’s 58
Officials expect the casino to generate about $164.25 million each year, which would help cover their $15 million in debt, while also creating jobs and saving already existing jobs. This led to promises made by Delaware North to pay $47 million over the span of 20 years to Islandia Village. Village officials could use the payments to cut property taxes and increase spending.
With only 265 video lottery terminals opening on Monday, Kilroy referred to Monday’s opening as a “soft launch.” Over the next month players should expect to see up to 34 additional machines added. The name Jake’s 58 derives from the owner of Delaware North, Jeremy Jacob, who has already hired 336 staffers. As of now a large number of staff is made up of security guards, but as the project continues and construction is completed Jacob expects many more employees will be hired.
When all is said and done, Jake’s 58 Hotel & Casino will include electronic table games and a bar with a “grab-and-go” restaurant. These will be options will be in addition to the already existing hotel dining option called Bistro 58. Players can expect to see familiar games like Wheel of Fortune, Friends, and Titanic as well as penny slot machines and a high-limit room with bets up to $25.
Local Opposition and Legal Action
Just hours after the state Gaming Commission issued a certificate to Jake’s 58 Hotel & Casino they opened their doors on the north service road of the Long Island Expressway. Local residents have filed suit to have the mini-casino closed, arguing that casinos are not allowed by the Village of Islandia code. There is also debate about the Village Board’s decision to approve the casino last year without conducting traffic studies.
Despite local civic associations still awaiting a pending lawsuit that intends to block the casino, president and general manager, Chuck Kilroy, insists that they will be “a good neighbor.” The Mayor of Islandia, Allan Dorman, even said that members of the community should expect “minimal impact,” as the hotel-casino will not be hosting Vegas-style shows. This is not the first time that Suffolk OTB has faced opposition when planning to build the mini-casino. The site of the casino had originally been expected to be built in Medford but was abandoned due to the response from the local community.