International edition
March 26, 2019

The firm bought the facility in January

MGM seeks gaming license for Yonkers' Empire City Casino

MGM seeks gaming license for Yonkers' Empire City Casino
MGM Resorts bought Empire City and Yonkers Raceway for $850 million from the Rooney family.
United States | 03/13/2019

Before a moratorium is lifted in 2023 on new casinos in New York, the company wants to obtain a full-scale gaming license for Empire City Casino in Yonkers.

"One of the ways to do that is to allow us to have access to live table games, as opposed to electronic table games, Las Vegas-style slot machines and sports betting so that we can stop some of the revenue that’s leaving downstate and going out of state," Uri Clinton, the CEO of Empire City said Tuesday at the state Capitol.

"So that’s what we are educating people on and just talking through."

Clinton, who was tapped by MGM in December to run Empire City, met with lawmakers in Albany in hopes of enticing them to allow MGM to have a casino license before the moratorium ends, Lohud reports.

MGM Resorts bought Empire City and Yonkers Raceway for $850 million from the Rooney family, which owned the track and racino since 1972, and will give the Rooneys an additional $50 million if they get a casino license.

MGM would have to persuade lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to drop the seven-year ban on new casinos put in place to help four upstate casinos get off the ground without competition from New York City and its suburbs.

MGM is pledging it could build out Empire City with table games and other amenities it cannot now offer. It currently has 5,200 video-lottery terminals and electronic table games. It employs 1,200 people, the largest private employer in Yonkers.

"We’re just kind of educating people on the vision we have for the property," Clinton told the USA Today Network's Albany Bureau.

"The reality of it is we think there is a real opportunity to allow us to start moving forward. So we’ve been talking to community groups; we’ve been engaging with the City Council; we’ve been engaging with local taxpayers' associations and local stakeholders who are representing those constituencies here in Albany."

Sen. Shelley Mayer, D-Yonkers, said she supports Empire City's push, saying it would benefit the city if MGM could expand. She said she would want a dedicated revenue stream from the casino to go to the city schools.

"I’ve always been supportive of full gaming for Yonkers," said Mayer, whose district includes the track. "It’s a source of jobs; it’s a source of revenue."

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