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MGM Unveils Vision for Empire City Casino Transformation

Signage Outside Entrance of Mgm Casino
Signage is displayed outside the entrance of one of MGM's casino resorts. Anthony Wallace/AFP

MGM is stating its case for one of New York’s three downstate casino licenses, and the plans provided call for a complete remodel of its Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) racino in Yonkers.

MGM Empire City

Although the name change is hardly noticeable, from Empire City Casino to the proposed MGM Empire City, the transformation from a VLT and harness racing facility to a full-purpose, Las Vegas-style casino featuring slots, table games, and state-of-the-art sportsbook brings a strikingly vibrant future for the site.

“MGM Resorts has a long and proud history of delivering world-class entertainment and gaming experiences, and we couldn’t be more excited to build on that track record at MGM Empire City,” said Bill Hornbuckle, President and Chief Executive Officer, MGM Resorts.

“A full-scale casino and entertainment destination will provide unparalleled experiences, create thousands of jobs, boost the state’s economy, and be a game-changer for the entire region,” added Hornbuckle.

Big Plans

The remodel would elevate everything, from the casino areas to upgraded dining offerings to a new parking garage that would be built to bring guests directly to the casino entrance and enhance the arrival experience.

Aesthetically, the Empire City Casino would be substantially updated and a 5000-seating capacity entertainment venue replete with “unrivaled views, cutting-edge acoustics, and dedicated amenities” would attract A-list acts.

And for those who want a world-class sportsbook, MGM has you in mind with its BetMGM Sportsbook and Lounge, equipped with a 112-foot wrap-around LED screen, stadium seating, betting kiosks, food and beverage operations, as well as a VIP lounge.

Looking Ahead

Casino General Manager, Ed Domingo, said: “When MGM Resorts acquired Empire City Casino in 2019, we knew we were becoming stewards of a historic institution that has served generations of New Yorkers as a gathering place for entertainment, a source of jobs for the community, and a driver of economic development.

“As MGM Resorts prepares to enter its sixth year at the helm of this iconic property, we are excited to be able to combine the knowledge we have developed of the New York market with our expertise as a global entertainment brand, to bring the next chapter of New York’s entertainment landscape to the incredible community we are part of.”

MGM’s project has a much better chance of capturing one of the three downstate licenses as it is an existing facility with the support of the local community. Expanding and reinvigorating a current operation is seemingly preferable to building from the ground up.

Thumbs Up From the Mayor

The project also has the support of Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano who commented, “This is a momentous opportunity for the City of Yonkers, and I’m excited for the future, knowing the development of MGM Empire City will create thousands of good-paying union jobs and the economic growth that will ensure our city continues to flourish and prosper.”

“Already drawing millions of guests annually, this development plan will solidify Empire City’s status as a premier entertainment destination. Generations of Yonkers residents have worked at, enjoyed, and supported this historic property for 125 years, and I am excited about the significant impacts this project will have for residents now and for the next 125 years.”

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