MGM Resorts Unveils Empire City in New York Overhaul

Posted on: November 30, 2023, 12:02h. 

Last updated on: November 30, 2023, 12:02h.

MGM Resorts International today unveiled the company’s vision for what its Empire City Casino might look like if the property is awarded one of the three downstate New York gaming concessions that would provide privileges for slot machines, table games, and sports betting.

MGM Resorts Empire City casino
MGM Resorts International’s rendering of Empire City should the racino be awarded a full-scale casino license. New York officials are expected to begin fielding bids for the three downstate licenses next year. (Image: MGM Resorts International)

In a statement today, MGM said should it gain one of the downstate full-scale casino licenses, the company would completely overhaul Empire City. The project would include expanding the property’s gaming floor and bringing a 5,000-seat entertainment venue to Yonkers.

A BetMGM Sportsbook, food and beverage outlets by celebrated chefs, cocktail bars and lounges, and technologically advanced meeting facilities would also be included.

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, MGM president and chief executive officer. “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.”

Empire City is currently a video lottery terminal racino. MGM acquired the property in 2019 for $850 million in hopes of one day transitioning the racino into a Las Vegas-style casino resort. That day could soon be here.

New York Casino Favorites

The New York Gaming Facility Location Board next year will begin fielding applications for the three downstate casino licenses it has to issue.

The gaming permits were authorized through state legislation passed in 2013. However, the gaming expansion included a 10-year moratorium on the downstate licenses being granted to allow the four upstate casinos also authorized in the legislation to open free of competition from the New York City region.

Empire City and Resorts World New York City, another racino offering VLTs, are considered the front-runners for two of the casino licenses. Nine other bids are being prepped from leading casino giants, including Las Vegas Sands on Long Island, Caesars Entertainment in Times Square, Hard Rock International in Queens, and Wynn Resorts in Hudson Yards.

MGM’s unveiling of its Empire City property should it receive one of the casino concessions didn’t come with much fanfare. Details were also rather scant.

Unlike other bids pledging to develop unique attractions and community benefits like affordable housing, MGM said only that a full casino would increase jobs and grow taxes in Yonkers.

“Empire City 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 over 10,000 anticipated indirect and induced jobs. The property currently spends tens of millions annually on local goods and services, keeping New York dollars in the state,” the MGM statement read.

Casino Expansion

Empire City is MGM’s largest gaming floor in its US portfolio. Measuring 160,00 square feet, the racino presently offers 4,600 VLT and electronic table game positions.

Upon receipt of a casino license, MGM says it will further expand its Empire City casino floor — but by how much and how many slots and table games would be featured wasn’t detailed.

Each downstate casino license costs a one-time $500 million fee. Winning companies must spend another $500 million, at minimum, on their resort projects.

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