“I think I can leverage my contacts made over three...

“I think I can leverage my contacts made over three decades in government to help Suffolk OTB get to the next level,” said retiring State Sen. Phil Boyle, who will become executive director of the agency Monday. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Outgoing State Sen. Phil Boyle, who is leaving office at the end of the year after opting not to seek reelection, starts the next chapter of his career Monday when he takes the helm of Suffolk OTB.

The Bay Shore Republican fills the public benefit corporation’s vacant executive director post just as OTB embarks on a plan to transform its lucrative Jake’s 58 casino in Islandia. Boyle will serve in that role until January when he expects to be named Suffolk OTB’s president and chief executive. 

Current president Tony Pancella will switch jobs with Boyle and become executive director, officials said. Boyle said state ethics rules bar him from being president while holding elected office.

Boyle, 61, is expected to lead an overhaul of Jake’s that includes doubling its 1,000 video lottery terminals and adding Atlantic City-style amenities such as expanded restaurants and possibly sports betting. 

“I think I can leverage my contacts made over three decades in government to help Suffolk OTB get to the next level,” Boyle told Newsday in an interview Thursday at the casino. “I think Jake’s can be even more successful than what it is. The sky’s the limit.”

Boyle is leaving Albany after 10 years in the Senate, where he is ranking member of the higher education and judiciary committees. He had been a state assemblyman from 1995 to 2006 and was chairman of the state’s Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction early in his Senate tenure.

Boyle, an early supporter of bringing casinos to Long Island, said he decided earlier this year not to run again after OTB officials asked him to consider taking the reins of the agency.

He will be paid a prorated $180,000 annual salary as executive director and $250,000 when he becomes president. Boyle makes the standard state senator salary of $110,000 annually.

In a statement released by an OTB publicist, Pancella called Boyle “a leader in our community and respected public servant.”

"Phil’s experience with racing and wagering on the state level will be a natural asset to our team as we continue to grow, and I welcome the opportunity to work with him,” Pancella said.

In his new role, Boyle will help expand Jake’s gaming and eating areas, plus restore amenities such as a swimming pool and conference rooms lost when the casino opened in February 2017 in the former Islandia Marriott Long Island hotel. OTB officials said the renovation is expected to take about two years.

The State Legislature earlier this year approved doubling the number of video terminals at Jake’s from 1,000 to 2,000. The bill awaits Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signature, OTB officials said.

Parking at Jake’s will more than triple, from 600 now to about 2,000, including the likely construction of a parking garage, Boyle said.

“It’s always packed and we’re going to increase our parking, and that’s going to be packed, too,” he said.

Islandia Mayor Allan M. Dorman wrote in an email to Newsday that the village is reviewing the building and parking expansion plans.

Jake’s 58 has been among New York’s most successful video lottery casinos since it opened.

Last month, Jake’s pulled in gross revenues of $338.4 million and netted $20.6 million after players were awarded prizes, according to online state Gaming Commission records. OTB earned $9.3 million after making required payments to the state public school fund and casino vendors.

OTB officials think there is untapped potential for Jake’s, pointing to new revenue sources such as e-sports and mobile sports betting, which became legal in New York in January.

“The first look will be at sports betting and how we can bring that into Jake’s and Suffolk OTB,” Boyle said. “We’ll always have the gaming that we have now and the video lottery terminals and the great entertainment value that we have here at Jake’s, along with the [hotel] rooms and the food. We’re going to upgrade those and also look to have sports betting, perhaps in a sports café [or] sports bar-type of setting, and I think it’d be an entirely new experience for perhaps people who haven’t been to Jake’s before. Folks can sit down and have some chicken wings and bet on whatever game's on at the time.”

Sports betting would attract younger customers — and generate more cash, he said.

“Every state it’s gone into, there are millions of dollars to be made, and also, most importantly, that money is going into education to help our schools and to help the taxpayers,” Boyle said. “Any time we get revenue from people being entertained by gaming, it’s less tax dollars that’s being taken out of their pockets at the end of the day.”

Boyle said he is satisfied with his work in Albany, pointing to a law he championed approving the expanded use of DNA to solve criminal cases.

His new job, he said, bears some similarities to his political experience.

“We’re selling a product,” Boyle said. “It’s just a different product.”

Outgoing State Sen. Phil Boyle, who is leaving office at the end of the year after opting not to seek reelection, starts the next chapter of his career Monday when he takes the helm of Suffolk OTB.

The Bay Shore Republican fills the public benefit corporation’s vacant executive director post just as OTB embarks on a plan to transform its lucrative Jake’s 58 casino in Islandia. Boyle will serve in that role until January when he expects to be named Suffolk OTB’s president and chief executive. 

Current president Tony Pancella will switch jobs with Boyle and become executive director, officials said. Boyle said state ethics rules bar him from being president while holding elected office.

Boyle, 61, is expected to lead an overhaul of Jake’s that includes doubling its 1,000 video lottery terminals and adding Atlantic City-style amenities such as expanded restaurants and possibly sports betting. 

WHAT TO KNOW

  • State Sen. Phil Boyle was an early supporter of bringing casinos to Long Island and is leaving Albany after 10 years in the Senate.
  • Jake’s pulled in gross revenues of $338.4 million in September and netted $20.6 million after players were awarded prizes, according to online state Gaming Commission records.
  • Boyle will help expand Jake’s gaming and eating areas, plus restore amenities such as a swimming pool and conference rooms lost when the casino opened in February 2017.

“I think I can leverage my contacts made over three decades in government to help Suffolk OTB get to the next level,” Boyle told Newsday in an interview Thursday at the casino. “I think Jake’s can be even more successful than what it is. The sky’s the limit.”

A fan of casinos on LI

Boyle is leaving Albany after 10 years in the Senate, where he is ranking member of the higher education and judiciary committees. He had been a state assemblyman from 1995 to 2006 and was chairman of the state’s Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction early in his Senate tenure.

Boyle, an early supporter of bringing casinos to Long Island, said he decided earlier this year not to run again after OTB officials asked him to consider taking the reins of the agency.

He will be paid a prorated $180,000 annual salary as executive director and $250,000 when he becomes president. Boyle makes the standard state senator salary of $110,000 annually.

In a statement released by an OTB publicist, Pancella called Boyle “a leader in our community and respected public servant.”

"Phil’s experience with racing and wagering on the state level will be a natural asset to our team as we continue to grow, and I welcome the opportunity to work with him,” Pancella said.

In his new role, Boyle will help expand Jake’s gaming and eating areas, plus restore amenities such as a swimming pool and conference rooms lost when the casino opened in February 2017 in the former Islandia Marriott Long Island hotel. OTB officials said the renovation is expected to take about two years.

The State Legislature earlier this year approved doubling the number of video terminals at Jake’s from 1,000 to 2,000. The bill awaits Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signature, OTB officials said.

Parking at Jake’s will more than triple, from 600 now to about 2,000, including the likely construction of a parking garage, Boyle said.

“It’s always packed and we’re going to increase our parking, and that’s going to be packed, too,” he said.

Islandia Mayor Allan M. Dorman wrote in an email to Newsday that the village is reviewing the building and parking expansion plans.

Betting on untapped potential

Jake’s 58 has been among New York’s most successful video lottery casinos since it opened.

Last month, Jake’s pulled in gross revenues of $338.4 million and netted $20.6 million after players were awarded prizes, according to online state Gaming Commission records. OTB earned $9.3 million after making required payments to the state public school fund and casino vendors.

OTB officials think there is untapped potential for Jake’s, pointing to new revenue sources such as e-sports and mobile sports betting, which became legal in New York in January.

“The first look will be at sports betting and how we can bring that into Jake’s and Suffolk OTB,” Boyle said. “We’ll always have the gaming that we have now and the video lottery terminals and the great entertainment value that we have here at Jake’s, along with the [hotel] rooms and the food. We’re going to upgrade those and also look to have sports betting, perhaps in a sports café [or] sports bar-type of setting, and I think it’d be an entirely new experience for perhaps people who haven’t been to Jake’s before. Folks can sit down and have some chicken wings and bet on whatever game's on at the time.”

Sports betting would attract younger customers — and generate more cash, he said.

“Every state it’s gone into, there are millions of dollars to be made, and also, most importantly, that money is going into education to help our schools and to help the taxpayers,” Boyle said. “Any time we get revenue from people being entertained by gaming, it’s less tax dollars that’s being taken out of their pockets at the end of the day.”

Boyle said he is satisfied with his work in Albany, pointing to a law he championed approving the expanded use of DNA to solve criminal cases.

His new job, he said, bears some similarities to his political experience.

“We’re selling a product,” Boyle said. “It’s just a different product.”