MGM Resorts has revealed it is buying two big gambling business in the city of Yonkers. The deal covers the Empire City Casino and Yonkers Raceway for a price of $850 Million. The move is the biggest business deal that ever took place in the city. As a major player in this industry, MGM Resorts is trying to expand the Las Vegas-style of gaming. Only, it is doing it on the East Coast and it is not alone in this process. In this example, the venue is located just 15 miles from New York’s Time Square. With a price tag just $150 million short of one billion USD, it is clear that MGM Resorts has big plans for the newly-acquired raceway and casino.
According to John Sabini, a gambling expert, the harness racing track had not had much of a future just 20 years ago. But now, Sabini believes that the future for the property could be golden. Presently, the Empire City casino provides video lottery terminals and slot machines but features no live table games. This could all change in 2021 or even sooner, after the state of New York gives out additional licenses. These will cover table gaming like that of the Las Vegas casinos. MGM will try to attain one of those licenses and then be in a possession of a lucrative facility just over the NY city lines.
Mike Spano, the Mayor of Yonkers, stated that he cannot imagine that MGM is buying the casino and racetrack just to keep them as is. Instead, Spano hopes that the company is making big plans. The combined property they purchased has almost 50 acres of land that is there for any additional development.
If the company decided to build a convention center and a hotel, while expanding its gaming business, it could create a destination that many would want to visit, according to Spano. If this happened, the city would see more jobs as a direct result of the visitors spending their entertainment dollars. Yonker would then attain more tax revenues and Spano believes it could use all of this.
The Local Gambling Scene Reaction
Local gamblers at Empire City seem to be split about the news. Some are happy to get Vegas-style gambling while others see the change as something irrelevant to them. Most agree, however, that the new hotel development would be beneficial to the local economy. MGM Resorts has not discussed its plans for the future.
Its CEO Jim Murren stated that the acquisition is a good chance for the company to fortify its East Coast presence. The Yonkers facility, in particular, is a good access point to the user-dense city of New York and the surrounding area.
The state regulators will be giving the deal a detailed look in the coming period. Experts predict that the process will go through relatively easily. Currently, the casino and the raceway are in the possession of the Rooney family. It also holds, among other things, the NFL team Pittsburgh Steelers. The deal the family made with the MGM Resorts also includes an additional $50 million for the Rooneys if New York greenlights the table gaming by 2022.