MGM Resorts Unveils Vision For Yonkers Destination

An artist's rendering of the exterior of MGM Empire City
Published: December 5, 2023 03:57 pm EST

MGM Resorts International has unveiled its vision to transition Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts into a world-class entertainment destination, MGM Empire City, if awarded a commercial casino license for its historic Yonkers, New York site.

MGM Resorts International announced on Thursday, Nov. 30 in a press release that 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, technologically advanced meeting spaces and more. 

The MGM Empire City plans feature a complete 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 the most discerning casino guests. The design includes the addition of several new destination dining experiences, including a modern steakhouse, a casual quick-serve Italian American experience and an authentic Asian noodle bar and eatery. Existing venues Big Kitchen food court and The Pub sports bar will also transform into new, high-end food concepts. The plan also includes development of a new parking garage to significantly enhance the guest arrival experience while also providing visitors with direct and convenient access to the casino and its amenities.

The entertainment venue will be the first of its kind in the region, hosting A-list performers and events in a 5,000-capacity setting with unrivaled views, cutting-edge acoustics and dedicated amenities. MGM Resorts is renowned for its entertainment offerings as the third-largest ticket seller for live performances in the United States and the capacity to seat more than 100,000 people a night across entertainment venues around the world. 

MGM Resorts's press release on the property development plans stated that a commercial casino license will also enable MGM Empire City to introduce The BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge, offering guests lively 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 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."

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. 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."

Ed Domingo, General Manager of Empire City Casino, 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."

With 31 destinations around the world, MGM Resorts offers best-in-class hotels and casinos, state-of-the-art meeting and conference spaces, live and theatrical entertainment experiences, and an extensive array of restaurant, nightlife and retail offerings, sports betting and online gaming operations.

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 stated in the Nov. 30 press release that it remains committed to continuing racing operations and recently made significant investments in track renovations.

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. Application process and timeline will be provided by the state's Gaming Facility Location Board in the coming months.

(With files from MGM Resorts International)

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