Westchester Magazine, Duke Ratliff, March 5th, 2021
An alliance of business leaders pushes to rejuvenate the economic powerhouse with expanded offerings like retail, sports betting, and gaming tables.
An alliance of nearly 30 businesses and organizations from Westchester and the Bronx, calling itself “A Sure Bet for New York’s Future,” has launched to call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to support a full gaming license and access to mobile sports betting for Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts in Yonkers.
The alliance touted the potential economic benefits of the move for the greater Westchester region and the Bronx at a virtual press conference on March 4.
Made up of organizations including co-chairs the Business Council of Westchester, the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, and Westchester Putnam Central Labor Body, the alliance contends that a full-scale casino with live table games along with retail and mobile sports betting will create thousands of new jobs and generate millions in additional wages and tax revenue.
“A full-scale casino license for Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts in Yonkers is a no brainer,” says John Ravitz, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Business Council of Westchester. “The brick-and-mortar is already in place. A full-scale casino license will enhance the existing facility and is a clear path to providing significantly more revenue for the state, offering union jobs, and supporting the entire region. And if New York is going to legalize mobile sports betting, MGM Resorts must be able to compete for a license. BetMGM is one of the top mobile sports betting platforms in the country, and New York needs and deserves the best operators.”
The Alliance co-chairs sent a letter to Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, requesting that a defined process be put in place to allow Empire City Casino to pursue a full-scale commercial casino license so that the state can immediately benefit from this private economic development project.
“Communities in the Bronx and Westchester County are hurting from the pandemic and the economic fallout, which has led to significant unemployment, a decline in economic development and dangerous cuts to services. There is a clear and obvious solution that would create jobs, boost investment, and provide much needed tax revenue to the state: provide Empire City Casinos by MGM Resorts with a full gaming license and a path to participate in online sports betting,” read the opening statements of the letter to Governor Cuomo.