Posted on: December 30, 2022, 11:56h. 

Last updated on: December 30, 2022, 12:50h.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed legislation this week that allows Jake’s 58 Casino on Long Island to significantly expand its gaming operations.

New York Jake's 58 Casino VLTs Kathy Hochul
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed legislation allowing Jake’s 58 Casino to double its number of video lottery terminals (VLTs). VLTs look and sound like traditional slot machines, but differ slightly in their operations. (Image: New York Post)

Hochul signed Assembly Bill 2210/Senate Bill 7685 on Wednesday night. The governor’s office disclosed the legislation’s signing to Newsday yesterday.

The bipartisan legislation increases the cap from 1,000 to 2,000 machines on the number of video lottery terminals (VLTs) that Jake’s 58 Casino in Islandia is permitted to house. Jake’s is now fully owned and operated by Suffolk OTB. That’s after the firm last year completed its buyout of Delaware North for $120 million. It claims demand has regularly outnumbered its allotment of 1,000 VLTs.

We close at 4 a.m. and they tell me they have to tell people to leave, and then we open at 8 and there’s already a line out of the door,” Phil Boyle, Suffolk’s newly minted president, told Newsday.

With Hochul’s blessing, Jake’s 58 can double its number of gaming positions. To accommodate the additional machines, the casino is embarking on a $200 million expansion.

Expansion Cleared

VLT gaming and Delaware North saved Suffolk OTB. After New York lawmakers in 2013 granted off-track betting operators like Suffolk VLT gaming privileges, Delaware North came in and rescued Suffolk from bankruptcy.

Delaware North helped Suffolk acquire the former Marriott Islandia hotel, and turned the property into a thriving VLT casino. During Jake’s 2021/22 fiscal year, the casino won almost a quarter of a billion dollars off gamblers.

Suffolk is ready to write its next chapter with a larger footprint in Islandia. The $200 million expansion will result in 100,000 square feet of additional space. The project will add a VIP gaming lounge, new restaurants, and a structured parking lot to the casino. The budget will also cover renovating all 227 hotel guest rooms.

The project is expected to take about two years to finish. Not everyone is happy about more gaming coming to Long Island.

It’s not being done correctly. It’s being forced upon families that live here and we weren’t notified that they were planning this,” said local resident Ken Smith. “We were always told they were never expanding this by more than 1,000 machines.”

New York’s decision to expand the Jake’s 58 allotment of VLT games comes as the state begins to field downstate casino pitches. A 10-year moratorium on downstate casinos with slots, table games, and sports betting expires in 2023.

VLTs vs. Slots

Video gaming terminals are slot-like devices, but differ from the Las Vegas-style gambling apparatuses. Instead of each device determining a spin result based on an individual random number generator, as a slot does, video terminals are linked together on a centralized computer system. In New York, that centralized computer network is managed by the New York Lottery.

A central determinant system draws winners from a centralized finite pool, similar to the administration of an in instant scratch-off game,” the New York Lottery explained.

By law, each casino’s VLT network must pay out a minimum of 90% of the total bets wagered.