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Table Games At Empire City Casino? Many Leaders In Westchester County, Bronx Say Now Is Time To Go For It

by The BCW

CBS2 (NY), Tony Aiello, March 4th, 2021

YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Business leaders in Westchester County and the Bronx are going all-in on full casino gambling at Empire City.

Adding table games to the mix of video terminals will require action in Albany, where the governor, who often holds all the cards, now has a weakened hand, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Thursday.

Yonkers is anxious to dig out of the coronavirus pandemic’s economic impact. It is celebrating the conversion of the old Sears store into a Target supercenter, creating dozens of jobs.

FLASHBACK: MGM Resorts International To Buy Empire City Casino, Yonkers Raceway For $850 Million

So you can imagine the buzz at the proposed addition of table games at MGM Empire City, which would create a Las Vegas-style casino and several thousand additional jobs.

“There is talk by the owners that they’re gonna put a convention center and a hotel there,” Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said.

“It would mean more money to help with a lot of different community projects, and I think that’s what we need right now in Yonkers,” Council member Shanae Williams said.

Three downstate full gaming licenses aren’t supposed to be issued until 2023, but many want Gov. Andrew Cuomo to approve them now to help with pandemic recovery.

In January, Cuomo signaled a willingness to consider it and given the governor’s current controversies, some lawmakers think the time is right to push him hard.

“We’re going to change that dynamic in terms of some of his emergency powers. That, coupled with his own crises regarding his own behavior, I think has changed the dynamic and that’s just the honest truth of negotiating with a powerful executive,” state Sen. Shelley Mayer said.

Empire City sits just north of the New York City border. An estimated 300 of the casino’s 1,200 workers live in the Bronx, which is why the borough’s chamber of commerce is joining Westchester business leaders in lobbying for full gaming at the casino.

“So that we can start to see the jobs and the revenues for our state needs for this fiscal year,” the chamber’s Lisa Sorin said.

The push will be frenzied. The gaming commission has said a deal must be in place by March 31.

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