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BCW/Alliance Urges State to Grant License for Empire City Casino

Granting a full-scale gaming license for Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts in Yonkers has long been a top priority for the Business Council of Westchester. As co-chair of the “A Sure Bet for New York’s Future Alliance,” the BCW coordinated a major press conference Wednesday at the casino to demonstrate strong community support for New York State to grant a gaming license for Empire City Casino.

The news conference, which was emceed by John Ravitz, Alliance co-chair and Executive Vice President and COO of the BCW, featured an impressive line-up of elected officials, labor leaders and business partners who urged swift action on the remaining downstate licenses to create jobs and help the economy bounce back from the pandemic. “This could be a huge, game-changing incubator for workforce development like we’ve never seen before,” said Ravitz. “Westchester, the Bronx, and all of the downstate region are urging Albany to work quickly. Downstate can’t wait,” he said.

If granted a full-scale casino license, Empire City Casino stands to generate hundreds of millions in license fees needed by the state, while speeding up the local community’s economic recovery. This would create thousands of new jobs and generate millions in additional annual wages, helping put New Yorkers back to work ASAP in family-sustaining union jobs.

“From a business standpoint, from a local government standpoint, this is a no brainer,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer adding, “You have here already the infrastructure for the most successful casino you could imagine.”

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said, “Enough is enough. We don’t need to wait. We know that this will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs to this region.”

“I can’t think of a project more deserving of our collective attention than getting full gaming right now, this year for Yonkers and for downstate,” said State Senator Shelley Mayer.

Assemblymember Gary Pretlow, Chair of the Racing and Wagering Committee, called on the Governor to support his legislation to accelerate the downstate casino licensing process. “We in this part of the state want this to happen, and we want it to happen now. This helps the Bronx, Westchester, Rockland County, and the state of New York. That’s what this is all about – helping the State of New York,” Pretlow said.

Highlighting the broader economic effects of a full-scale license for Empire City, Lisa Sorin, Alliance co-chair and President of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce said, ”We keep talking about the jobs, which are so critical, but we’re also looking at businesses that will be supported by this; minority-owned businesses, small mom and pop shops, construction work, everything that’s needed to build something like this.”

Alliance Co-Chairs Thomas Carey, President of Westchester Putnam Central Labor Body; Marlene Cintron, President of Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp; and Henry Wilson, Executive Director of Y-COP in Mount Vernon all raised important points about how granting the gaming license for Empire City Casino would provide a significant economic boom for the region.

Other leaders speaking at the press conference included Assembly Members Nader Sayegh, Nathalia Fernandez, and Steve Otis; Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson Howard; and Yonkers City Council Member John Rubbo.

The Alliance includes more than 70 business, labor, nonprofit and community organizations from Westchester and the Bronx who support the creation of thousands of new, family-sustaining union jobs for local families. To learn more about the Alliance and/or join as a member visit: www.thebcw.org/alliance

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