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MGM to Seek Full-Scale Casino License for Empire City

Gambling giants lobby for the authorization of Las Vegas-style casino gambling in the New York City area

The new owner of Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway in Yonkers, New York is now looking to start unlocking value and believes that one of the ways to do this is by being given the nod to operate full-scale Las Vegas-style casino gambling.

MGM Resorts International bought the harness racing track and casino in January for $850 million. The company has already indicated that it nurtures hopes to be allowed to expand the property into a full-blown Las Vegas-style resort with slot machines and table games.

At present, Empire City Casino features 5,200 video-lottery terminals and a number of electronic table games.

MGM will be seeking a full gaming license before the moratorium on casino expansion in New York is lifted in 2023. The company also hopes to enter the state’s sports betting market, should lawmakers regulate the practice.

In a meeting with state legislators, Empire City Casino’s newly appointed CEO, Uri Clinton, said Tuesday that they are educating people and talking through the countless opportunities the authorization of new casinos in the state would create, particularly in the New York area.

Gambling expansion matters have traditionally been facing numerous hurdles in the state Legislature, and it will not be any different for the idea for expanded casinos. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials are approaching the topic cautiously.

Gov. Cuomo told local media earlier this year that he is aware there is a topic of conversation, but has no opinion or intention to make any changes for now.

Under New York’ law, no new casinos should be authorized until 2023, when a seven-year moratorium is set to expire. The moratorium was placed to help four recently launched Upstate commercial casinos gain foothold.

Las Vegas Sands Lobbies for Casino Expansion

Aside from MGM, another Las Vegas gaming and hospitality giant is too pushing for the authorization of more casinos in New York. Las Vegas Sands has expressed interest in entering what many believe could be an extremely lucrative market.

Resorts World in Queens is too hoping to secure a full-scale license before the moratorium expires in 2023. The property and MGM released Tuesday a joint statement to support casino licenses in downstate New York.

The statement read that New York City presents a “tremendous opportunity” for hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue to be generated. In addition, casinos in the area can capture gambling revenue that currently leaves the state, Resorts World and MGM further pointed out in their joint statement.

The success of a deal for the authorization of full-scale casinos in downstate New York will likely involve getting the existing four Upstate casinos on board. The properties were promised a seven-year exclusive right to operate casino gambling, and any changes would hurt their exclusivity. In addition, under state law, the casinos will get a portion of their license fee back if the moratorium is lifted before 2023.

The four gambling venues have failed to take off as quickly as they had been projected to. In fact, some of them have even sought a state bailout because of dropping revenues. None of them have commented on the renewed effort for ending the moratorium before 2023.

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The post MGM to Seek Full-Scale Casino License for Empire City appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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