Finally, MGM Resorts Unveils Empire City Expansion Plan
Award of Full Casino License Still Awaits
YONKERS—MGM Resorts International unveiled its vision late last month to transition Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts into a world-class entertainment destination—with the title of MGM Empire City—if it is awarded a commercial casino license. Generations of Yonkers residents have worked at and enjoyed it for more than 125 years.
Key elements of the phase-one design include a comprehensive casino floor redevelopment and expansion, 5,000-capacity entertainment venue, state-of-the-art “BetMGM sportsbook,” food and beverage outlets by “celebrated chefs, cocktail bars and lounges, and technologically advanced meeting spaces.”
MGM Empire City’s plans feature a comprehensive property redevelopment shifting from a video lottery terminal racino into a full-scale commercial casino with live-dealer table games, the newest slot machines and a high-limit gaming area for select casino guests. The plan also includes development of a new parking garage.
No development cost estimates were released in connection with the planned expansion. MGM Resorts stated that the entertainment venue will be the first-of-its-kind in the region. The enterprise said it plans to host “A-list performers.”
A commercial casino license will also enable MGM Empire City to introduce The BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge, offering guests game day experiences with a 112-foot wrap-around LED screen, stadium seating, VIP areas, multiple betting kiosks and food and beverage operations.
“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 CEO of 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.”
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said, “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.”
Empire City boasts the largest casino floor in the company’s domestic portfolio at 160,000 square feet and is also one of the largest gaming floors in the country. It has been operating since October 2006 with video lottery terminals and electronic table games under its current lottery license. The site is also home to the historic Yonkers Raceway, a world-renowned horse racing harness track that has been operating since 1899. MGM Resorts remains committed to continuing racing operations and recently made significant investments in track renovations.
The facility is Yonkers’s largest tax contributor and one of its largest private employers. Future development plans will substantially boost workforce numbers with thousands of direct hires and more than 10,000 anticipated indirect and induced jobs.
The development plan will move forward if MGM Resorts is successful in securing one of three available full commercial casino licenses currently up for bid in the State of New York. The application process and timeline will be provided by the state’s Gaming Facility Location Board in the coming months.