Monticello Gaming and Raceway overview
Monticello Gaming and Raceway is a harness racing track and Racino in Monticello, New York.
The track opened in the summer of 1958 in the Catskill Mountains resort area. The track became a popular destination for harness races running in the afternoon all year round. It was nicknamed “The Mighty M”.
However, the popularity for both the resort area and the track fell off from the 1980s through the year 2000.
After a $27 million renovation in 2004, the property was renamed Monticello Gaming and Raceway. The renovation included the addition of Video Lottery Terminals, a 350-seat buffet, other food outlets, and a cocktail lounge and bar area.
Attemtps were made to get permission to build a Native American casino with the St. Regis Mohawk tribe at the property. In January 2008, those plans were vetoed by the Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior. Apparently the Mohawk reservation was too far from the track.
Horse racing continued to be a staple at the track. In 2016, Monticello Gaming and Raceway unveiled a new simulcasting room with 35 television screens featuring live harness and thoroughbred racing. A heated bleacher section on the racing apron was also added.
A sister casino and resort is coming
In 2013, New York voters supported a constitutional amendment authorizing the issue of new commercial gaming licenses throughout the state. A year later licenses were granted to three projects. These included the del Lago Resort & Casino in Waterloo, Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady, and the Montreign Resort and Casino in the Catskills. A fourth commercial casino license was later awarded to the Tioga Downs Racino in Nichols.
The Montreign Resort and Casino project was put forth by Monticello Gaming and Raceway owners Empire Resorts, Inc. The other three commercial casino properties have already opened. The Montreign Resort and Casino is scheduled to begin operations in the spring of 2018.
Construction of the $1 billion casino and resort was well underway in the spring of 2017 with plans including an 18-story casino, hotel and entertainment complex with more than 100 table games, 2,000 slot machines and 330 luxury rooms, penthouse suites, garden suites and villas. The property is just a ten minute drive from the Monticello Gaming and Raceway.
Monticello Gaming and Raceway is in the southern portion of Upstate New York in the Catskill Mountains. The raceway and Racino is off Exit 104 of Route 17 on New York State Route 17B.
40,000 square feet of gaming
Monticello Casino and Raceway offers 40,000 square feet of gaming space. The Racino includes more than 1,000 Video Lottery Terminals and 40 electronic table games.
The slot-style VLTs on the property include everything from penny games to high-limit denominations, progressive jackpots and video poker games. Some of the most popular games include:
- Wheel of Fortune
- Red Hot Jackpots
Electronic Table Games at Monticello Casino and Raceway include:
- 3 card poker
The facility also offers pari-mutuel wagering on live harness races, and simulcasts of harness and thoroughbred races from racetracks across the country.
Online casino games at Monticello casino?
Monticello Casino and Raceway and owner Empire Resorts, Inc. appear to have very little experience in the online gaming industry. However, the organization has long sought out additional revenue streams, as evidenced by the efforts to partner with the St. Regis Mohawk tribe to build a Native American casino on the property, and ultimately receiving approval to build the Montreign Resort and Casino just minutes away.
New York legislators have yet to consider legal and regulated online casino operations in New York. Should that change, it appears Monticello Casino and Raceway would see the opportunity for additional revenue and jump on it. This could involve partnering with some of the biggest online casino operators in the industry to offer real money games like blackjack, craps and roulette online in New York. Potential established operators offering their casino and slot games online in NY would possibly include:
- DraftKings New York Casino
- FanDuel New York Casino
- BetRivers New York Casino
- Caesars New York Casino
- BetMGM New York Casino
The New York market is potentially very profitable and legislation would likely lead to the launch of a number of new casino sites in NY, too, all eager to compete for online customers.
Monticello online poker
In the first quarter of 2018, two identical bills which would legalize and regulate online poker in New York were introduced into the New York Senate and Assembly. The State Assembly’s Chairman of the Committee on Racing and Wagering claimed there is very little standing in the way of such legislation. He also said all of New York’s licensed casino and Racino properties support the idea.
This would likely include Monticello Casino and Raceway, the Montreign Resort and Casino and owners Empire Resorts, Inc. With construction of the Montreign Resort and Casino coming with a $1 billion price tag, Empire Resorts will likely be looking at any and all revenue streams it can find.
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More than just gaming
Additional amenities at Monticello Casino and Raceway include:
- A 350-seat buffet
- The Terrace Dining Room with seating for 100
- Food court with two food outlets
- Entertainment lounge with seating for 75
- Central bar
- New state of the art simulcast area
- Parking spaces for 2,000 cars and 10 buses
Monticello Casino and Raceway offers free membership in its own Players’ Club. Members enjoy:
- VIP treatment
Members earn points for VLT play and Monticello Raceway wagers redeemable towards:
- Free Slot Play
- Food comps
- Special offers
- VIP invitations