While the aqueduct racino has drawn huge crowds — a record $1.13 billion was wagered at the new facility in July — local residents in South Ozone Park, Queens say they have yet to see spillover benefits from the casino complex.
While the racino has contributed $329 million in taxes to the state, and 61 percent of the 1,750 jobs provided by the facility have gone to Queens residents, there are still many underdeveloped strips along Rockaway Boulevard in South Ozone Park, the Journal said.
Of the new businesses that have opened, many are pawn shops, the Journal said, and restaurants are not seeing an uptick in business because racino patrons can simply inside the gambling facility.
Anthony Guadagno, manager at Sofia Pizza, which has been on Rockaway Boulevard for 17 years, told the Journal that the racino has hurt his business. “Local people, too — they’d rather spend money gambling than eating.” [WSJ]