MONTICELLO, Sullivan County (WABC) -- Resorts World Casinoopened its doors for the first time in the Catskills, weeks ahead of schedule.
They rushed through the doors at 8 a.m. sharp, patrons from near and far hoping it is their lucky day.
The debut of a 100,000 square foot full-fledged casino in Monticello that brings Las Vegas-style gaming closer to the metropolitan area.
The luxury casino has more than 150 live table games and more than 2,000 slot machines.
"I love it," said Ann Williams, a patron. "It's beautiful, it's well worth the hour and 15 minutes it takes to get here from New Jersey."
The Resorts World Catskills is a $1.2 billion project that state officials hope will provide a boost to economically depressed Sullivan County.
In 2014, the state approved table gaming for three upstate casino projects. Two have already opened, given a head start, because this one is closest to the city.
"We have this wonderful environment which we're set close enough where we are a short drive from Manhattan, New York, or any of its surrounding areas," said Ryan Eller, CEO, Resorts World Catskills.
Still, there's competition from casinos in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Resorts World believes it will become a destination for its 18-story luxury hotel complete with private access for VIPs, and an entire wing of the gaming floor geared to attracting Asian gamblers and tourists.
"It think it's going to steal a lot of customers from Foxwoods, because a lot of people in New York go to Foxwoods," a patron said. "And I think this is a huge, huge casino."
The casino near Monticello was set to open on March 1st, but the owners pushed it up to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
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Resorts World Casino opens in Catskills