During the two-year construction plan, Suffolk OTB president Phil Boyle said the goal is to keep as many gaming machines running as possible. NewsdayTV's Shari Einhorn reports.  Credit: Photo Credit: BLD Architecture & Newsday Staff

Suffolk OTB on Monday will break ground on a $210 million expansion of Jake's 58 Casino Hotel that will double the number of betting terminals at the Islandia gambling parlor and more than triple the number of parking spaces.

OTB officials expect the expansion — the first since the casino opened in 2017 — to alleviate chronic shortages of video lottery terminals and parking spaces while increasing annual revenue by as much as 42%.

Betting terminals will double to 2,000, and parking — including a three-story garage — will increase from 600 spaces to almost 2,000, Suffolk OTB president Phil Boyle said Friday. 

The project also includes new pubs, restaurants and space for conferences and wedding receptions at Jake's, which has been among New York's most successful gambling facilities in the past seven years.

"There's no doubt about it," Boyle said when asked whether there is sufficient demand for a larger casino. "Anybody who's been to Jake's knows we've been very successful and it's hard to find a parking spot."

Construction is expected to take at least two years, Boyle said. Up to 150 betting terminals may be removed while construction takes place, he said, adding OTB hopes to minimize disruptions.

The project includes a new 110,000-square-foot building behind the existing facility, Boyle said. The building will house 1,000 new betting terminals, plus about 500 machines transferred from the current casino, Boyle said.

Betting terminals will be reduced to 500 in the current building, which will have new dining areas, he said, adding the hotel's 210 rooms also will be updated.

"It's a great place but it's 40 years old," he said of the hotel.

The project coincides with state plans to add three traditional downstate casinos. State officials are weighing numerous proposals, including one from Las Vegas casino giant Sands for a casino at Nassau Coliseum. State officials are expected to select sites by the end of 2025. 

Boyle said those casinos would pose no threat to Jake's.

"We have very loyal customers," he said.

Construction is expected to create 800 jobs, and the upgraded casino will add 125 permanent positions, Boyle said.

Suffolk OTB president Phil Boyle at Jake's 58 Casino Hotel on...

Suffolk OTB president Phil Boyle at Jake's 58 Casino Hotel on Friday.  Credit: Rick Kopstein

Boyle said OTB estimates show gross casino revenue could grow 42%, from $273 million last year to $388 million in the first full year after construction is completed.

State figures show 45% of Jake's annual gross revenue goes to the public education system. The remaining 55% goes to Suffolk County, the state Gaming Commission and the horse racing industry.

OTB earlier this year filed a state Supreme Court lawsuit challenging Islip Town's decision to assess 75% of Jake's 58 for property taxes. OTB says the casino and hotel should be tax-exempt as government property; Islip says the hotel should be taxed as a commercial entity.

OTB's $2.25 million annual payment to the Village of Islandia will jump to $4.25 million annually, Boyle said.

The expansion is welcome news to Joe Gumina, 74, of Mount Sinai, who said it is hard to get a machine, especially for popular games such as poker. 

Gumina said he hopes for more dining options — and easier parking.

"It's hard enough [finding] parking," he said. "It definitely needs more parking."

Alisha Anthony of Dix Hills said she's excited about the additional space.

"I come here almost every day," she said. "I just love the atmosphere. I love playing blackjack. I love playing slots."

With Shari Einhorn

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