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MGM Resorts Finalizes Purchase of BCW Member Empire City for $850 Million

BCW Member Empire City Casino was purchased by MGM Resorts this week. 

The deal was finalized after the state Gaming Commission on Monday approved the transfer of the licenses for gaming and horse racing from the Rooney family to MGM.

“We are pleased to welcome the 1,200 employees at Empire City Casino to the MGM Resorts family,” Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts, said in a statement.

The Casino, with 5,200 video-lottery terminals, is 15 miles from Times Square in Manhattan, the Las-Vegas based gambling giant noted.

The Rooney family had owned the race track since 1972, but sold it as MGM expects to eventually further develop the 97-acre property, 47 percent of which is currently developed.

“What’s incredibly exciting is the amount of opportunity MGM Resorts will bring to the employees at Empire City, as well as Westchester County, the city of Yonkers, and the State of New York,” Timothy J. Rooney, president and CEO of Empire City Casino, said in a statement.

The Rooneys had considered trying to build out the property themselves, but ultimately hired JP Morgan in 2017 to review their options.

MGM announced the purchase agreement last May, but it hasn’t detailed what its plans are to expand the facility.

“One of The Business Council of Westchester’s top legislative priorities has been and will continue to be to urge Albany to amend the moratorium on full gaming licenses,” said John Ravitz, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the BCW. “We believe giving empire city a full gaming license is critical for allowing MGM resorts to take the property to the next level.”

Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of the BCW, commended the Rooney family for its operation of a long-time Yonkers institution and said the sale to MGM would provide additional resources that would help the business and the surrounding community to prosper. 

“We are excited about this new chapter in Yonkers Raceway/Empire City Casino’s future and what it will mean for economic development in Yonkers,’’ she said. “MGM Resorts is a world-class company. We join in welcoming them to Westchester, and we thank and congratulate the Rooney family for developing such an iconic Yonkers institution.”

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