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US – Local businesses form alliance to push for full gaming licence at Empire City

By - 8 March 2021

With rumours and potential projects abounding for a full-scale New York casino to help boost the state’s coffers, an alliance of business leaders has been formed to push the concept of an existing casino, Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts in Yonkers, to get a full licence.

‘A Sure Bet for New York’s Future’ announced the creation of the new local alliance in support of a full gaming license and access to mobile sports betting for Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts and touted its benefits for Yonkers, the Bronx, and the greater Westchester region.

Nearly 30 businesses, community organisations, and labor groups in Westchester and the Bronx have formed the new alliance. They include: the Business Council of Westchester, the Bronx Chamber of Commerce and the Westchester-Putnam Central Labor Body. They say that at a time when New York is struggling to recover from the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the benefits of a full gaming license for Empire City are ‘immeasurable.’

A full-scale casino license, complete with retail and mobile sports betting and live table games, will create thousands of new, family-sustaining union jobs, while generating millions in additional annual wages and tax revenue that would directly benefit local communities. The alliance is also focused on ensuring that the region is not left behind as the state considers implementing mobile sports betting.

“A full-scale casino license for Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts in Yonkers is a no brainer,” said 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.”

“There is overwhelming support among Bronx residents, community leaders, and businesses for Empire City to become a full-scale casino because we already have benefitted from Empire City’s presence,” said Lisa Sorin, President of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce. “A full-scale casino license for Empire City will no doubt have a direct impact on the Bronx. We urge the Governor and the Legislature to allow Empire City to develop into a full-scale casino so we can start to see the jobs and the revenue our state needs this fiscal year.”

“A full-scale casino license at Empire City will support the creation of thousands of new union jobs from the more than $1bn impact it will have on the region,” said Thomas Carey, President of the Westchester-Putnam Central Labor Body. “Think of all of the union jobs this will create for business and our Building and Construction Trades Brothers and Sisters as well as Food Service employees, security, and the endless opportunities as we advance. If Albany wants to prioritize economic recovery, they must allow Empire City to apply for a full-scale casino license as soon as possible.”

The Alliance co-chairs sent a letter to Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Heastie, asking that a defined process be put in place to allow Empire City Casino to be able to pursue a full-scale commercial casino license so that the state can immediately benefit from this turnkey private economic development project.

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