Located in the Yonkers region of New York, the Empire City Casino currently operates as a video lottery racino. The MGM venue offers slots and various table games, as well as harness racing betting and international simulcasting.
However, MGM is seeking to transform the facility into a much larger venue with a range of facilities. These would include a full-scale commercial casino with live-dealer tables, slots and a high-limit gaming area.
Other planned on-site amenities include a BetMGM Sportsbook and Lounge betting facility, various restaurants and a 5,000-seater entertainment venue.
However, the project hinges on MGM securing one of three full commercial casino licences currently available in New York. The timeline for these licences will be announced in the coming months, with the bidding process having launched earlier this year.
“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,” MGM president and CEO Bill Hornbuckle said.
“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.”
Local support for MGM casino bid
Yonkers mayor Mike Spano is also backing the project, saying it would support economic growth in the region. MGM has estimated a full-scale casino would spark over $1.0bn (£790.5m/€915.2m) in new economic activity for the area.
“Already drawing millions of guests annually, this development plan will solidify Empire City’s status as a premier entertainment destination,” Spano said. “Generations of Yonkers residents have worked at, enjoyed and supported this historic property for 125 years.
“I am excited about the significant impacts this project will have for residents now and for the next 125 years.”
MGM faces competition in race for New York casino licence
MGM is one of a number of parties to have shown an interest in securing a new commercial casino licence in New York.
Earlier this month, New York Mets owner Steve Cohen and Hard Rock International unveiled plans for an $8bn casino resort at Citi Field ballpark.
The Metropolitan Park complex would rise on 50 acres of parking lot space surrounding the ballpark in the Queens district.
Included in the proposal is a Hard Rock hotel and casino and separate sportsbook site, which are subject to licences being obtained. There will also be a live music venue, tailgate park, food hall and 20 acres of new park space.
According to the plans, nearly 15,000 permanent and construction jobs will be created.
Meanwhile, Caesars Entertainment announced its intention to open a New York casino in October last year. Working in partnership with SL Green Realty, Caesars hopes to open the venue in Times Square.
Caesars and SL Green intend to redevelop 1515 Broadway, a property near Times Square, to build Caesars Palace Times Square. Jay-Z-founded entertainment agency Roc Nation is also backing the bid.
Other operators that have expressed interest include Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and Universal Entertainment.
In April, former city planner and native New Yorker Muhammad Cohen explored the plans in a special article for iGB.