It was another record-breaking evening for the Business Council of Westchester as more than 900 business, political and community leaders turned out on October 10 at the Hilton Westchester for the 2019 Annual Dinner featuring MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren.
Murren, whose company earlier this year acquired Empire City Casino for $850 million, touched upon a wide range of topics in a 45-minute interview with BCW President and CEO Marsha Gordon.
Speaking about MGM Resorts International’s corporate culture, Murren said, “We have endeavored to be leaders in terms of the culture we have developed. The majority of our employees are minorities, the majority of our employees are female. We have worked very hard to make sure everyone feels included, that we are a diverse and vibrant organization. We are a strong community partner and our record speaks for itself.”
Murren talked about how his company has successfully brought professional sports to Las Vegas and what it could mean for Westchester County. “Sports, whether it’s collegiate, high school or pro, is the future of what we believe to be the entertainment experience. We want to bring a lot of that content and experience to Westchester County.”
Murren also commented on the importance of having a full gaming license for Empire City Casino, an issue that the BCW has been at the forefront for many years. “What we can do for Westchester can all be achieved if we get live gaming and full scale gaming both in terms of sports betting and live table games. We can provide more entertainment whether it’s theatrical or sports. We can provide venues for your high schools, colleges and universities to have a place to play. We can bring our incredible talent of live entertainment. You want to see Lady Gaga? Well, I can bring her to Empire City.”
He also said full gaming at Empire City Casino would generate jobs. “Imagine for a moment. We have 1,200 employees, some of the greatest men and women in our industry. Imagine if there were two or three thousand more employees.”
On the topic of corporate social responsibility (CSR), Murren noted that MGM Resorts International is committed to a sustainable future. He said the company is building a hundred megawatt solar array, which is one of the largest in the United States. He noted that within two years, it will supply 90 percent all the power the company consumes in Las Vegas. “Investors say they care about CSR. But they don’t put their money where their mouth is enough,” he said.
Concluding the interview, Gordon commented “We thank you for what you’re doing here in Yonkers and at Empire City. We look forward to working with you at the Business Council of Westchester. We will remain committed to getting a gaming license. We will work with you as you look to engage small businesses and other businesses in the community with great recognition to diversity.”