The opening of a Suffolk OTB casino in Islandia that had been scheduled to debut this month has been delayed until February, officials said Wednesday.
Officials with developer Delaware North and Suffolk County Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. said routine construction-related issues caused workers to fall behind schedule. Officials with both entities said the postponement will not have a significant financial effect on the bankrupt OTB.
A Delaware North spokesman said in an email that the revised opening was the result of “a later construction start than anticipated and some additional design work, the need for which was discovered during demolition.”StoryCasino opponent: Meeting time is 'suspect'StoryMeeting over proposed OTB casino gets heatedStoryOfficial: Residents kept in dark on casino
Suffolk OTB officials have never announced a specific date for the gaming parlor’s opening, but a lawyer for the agency has said it was expected to open this month.
The casino will be in the Islandia Marriott Long Island hotel on the North Service Road of the Long Island Expressway, just west of Exit 58. OTB officials have said they believe the casino will help the agency emerge from bankruptcy.
Chuck Kilroy, a Delaware North general manager in charge of the Islandia hotel and the casino, said demolition and construction crews encountered problems such as wiring that did not appear in original hotel designs, and ducts that needed repairs. He and other officials compared the problems to those often seen by homeowners making renovations.
“There’s a lot of moving pieces,” Kilroy said in a telephone interview. “Sometimes when you delve into construction, there are things you don’t realize.”
The casino will require approvals from the state Gaming Commission and a certificate of occupancy from the Village of Islandia before it opens, Kilroy said.
Islandia officials did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment.
Suffolk OTB officials said they were not worried by the delay, adding that the Islandia casino is still ahead of schedule compared to an abandoned plan to open a casino in Medford.
“Everybody’s working as rapidly as possible to get this done,” Suffolk OTB President Phil Nolan said.
Delaware North officials said Wednesday that the casino would open in February with about 250 video slot machines. They plan to add about 250 additional machines by May.
Company officials said the casino will have its full allotment of 1,000 terminals by the summer.
“We’re shooting to go as early as we can,” Kilroy said. “If we can get it done earlier, we would absolutely do it.”
The company held a job fair Wednesday at Islandia Village Hall to hire dozens of employees for the hotel and casino. Kilroy said that as of 2 p.m., 179 people had attended the fair, which ends at 7 p.m.
He and company spokesman Glen A. White said the construction delays would not affect hiring.