Day At The Track

Monticello to resume racing on Monday

06:24 AM 12 Sep 2020 NZST
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Resorts World Catskills reopened 30 of its 150 table games on Wednesday evening, and it expects to resume regular poker in a few weeks. The harness racing horsemen at Monticello Raceway reached an agreement in principle on Wednesday to amend the contract, which will likely be signed by the end of next week. Tioga Downs Casino Resort reopened with 350 active slots machines.

Affter reopening with a 25-percent capacity limit and other restrictions on Wednesday, Resorts World Catskills reopened 30 of its 150 table games, after initially being closed while the casino’s operators sought the New York Gaming Commission’s approval for a table games safety plan.

A casino spokesman told Times Herald-Record that the state Gaming Commission has closed roulette and craps games, and there is not yet a reopening date. Regular poker also remains closed, though the spokesman said it will likely begin in a few weeks, and the casino will keep patrons updated so they know an exact date.

Casino visitors can now play blackjack, baccarat, three-card poker, Let it Ride, Caribbean Stud, Ultimate Texas Hold ’em, Casino War, Pai Gow with tiles, Pai Gow poker, Crazy 4 poker and Mississippi Stud.

To staff the table games and the 700 (of 1,600) slot machines now back online, the casino is bringing back 700 of its 1,400 employees. Workers who test positive for the coronavirus will be required to immediately notify state and local health departments, cooperate with contact tracing efforts, including notifying potential contacts. They'll also have to provide proof to the casino that they sought and received a quarantine order from their local health department.

Moreover, the casino’s sister property Monticello Raceway will reopen for harness racing as soon as Monday, said Joe Faraldo, an attorney for the Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association, as reported by Times Herald-Record. He contends Empire Resorts, the casino’s parent, has kept Monticello’s track closed, despite all of New York’s other harness and horse racing tracks being allowed to open since June, as leverage while casino leaders tried to renegotiate the horsemen’s contract.

The contract has four years left on it, Faraldo said. Plus, Resorts World Catskills agreed to fund the horse track, split earnings with the horsemen and preserve racing, as a major condition for receiving a state operating license before opening in 2018. But Faraldo said that the horsemen reached an agreement in principle on Wednesday to amend the contract because of how hard the casino has been hit by the pandemic. He said the contract will likely be signed by the end of next week, and then he can disclose its new terms. All of the lost racing days will be made up gradually in the coming years, he indicated.

With files from the Times-Herald Record

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