KIAMESHA LAKE – “This is the beginning of the rebirth of the Catskills,” proclaimed New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul during the official ribbon cutting ceremony for Resorts World Casino on Thursday.
Hochul said that every time she visits the Catskills region she feels like she’s in God’s country. But the region has seen better days.
“I’m tired of people talking about the glory days,” Hochul said. “We are back with attractions, not just the casino, the water park and golf course.” Hochul, who is from the Buffalo area, knows what it’s like to be down and out, as she referred to the slump in economic prosperity for the Sullivan County region.
She also noted the casino is near Bethel Woods Center for Performing Arts, the historic site of the Woodstock Music Festival, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019.
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther said the opening of the casino is “a bittersweet moment for her as her late husband, Assemblyman Jake Gunther had pushed for casino gaming many years ago.
“People now have hope and opportunity and quality of life in Sullivan County,” State Senator John Bonacic said during the ribbon cutting ceremony. “I want to thank Governor Cuomo. He allowed the legislation for a constitutional amendment in 2013. Then he said give it to the people that need it the most.”
Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, a lion dance presentation was held to bring good fortune and commemorate the start of play at the luxury casino resort.
The public was fully engaged in the region’s most anticipated Las Vegas-style gaming with more than 150 live table games and more than 2,000 state-of-the-art slot machines.
The facility includes two casino entertainment bars, a food court, 24 hour café, an Italian-infused steakhouse and two exclusive VIP lounges. The hotel has more than 300 all-suite rooms, two pools, a spa and salon and two fitness centers. There are also seven meeting rooms, and up to eight convention/event rooms.
Later this year, the entertainment village will open and provide additional entertainment, food and accommodations. In the spring of 2019, a Rees Jones-redesigned 18-hole golf course will debut.
Governor Andrew Cuomo called Resorts World Catskills, a “Great full service destination,” via a video message. “Today we know we are on the right track.”