MGM looks for full-scale casino license in New York

New York has begun to loosen up on gambling and casino operators are seizing the opportunity to push for further expansion. MGM Resorts, which purchased the Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway in Yonkers, NY this past January, wants to take Las Vegas-style gaming to the state and is hoping it will be able to offer “full-scale” Vegas gambling in New York in the near future.

Currently, Empire City only offers a selection of electronic table games and 5,200 video-lottery terminals. A moratorium in New York on casino expansion is in place until 2023, but MGM is hoping it can use its charm and negotiating skills to receive a full gaming license before the moratorium ends. It is prepared to push for a sportsbook if New York moves forward with legislation to legalize sports gambling.

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This past Tuesday, Empire City CEO Uri Clinton, who only recently stepped into the position, met with state legislators to state his case and to campaign for a casino license. He told them that the company is involved in a number of active channels to help New Yorkers understand the benefits to a casino in the Empire State, especially to those around the Big Apple, New York City.

Andrew Cuomo, New York’s governor, has been stepping forward cautiously with new gambling legislation. The state has been willing to consider more options, but is not willing to jump straight into the deep end and open the market to all forms of gaming. Cuomo knows that there is growing interest to expand gambling options in the state, but has stated that he isn’t ready to make any monumental changes for now.

MGM isn’t the only company hoping it can help lawmakers change their minds. Las Vegas Sands has also said that it would consider expanding into a New York gambling market and Resorts World, which is located in Queens, New York, has also said that it would like to have a full-scale license ahead of the expiration of the moratorium.

The seven-year moratorium prevents further gaming licenses from being issued. It was put into place in order to give a boost to the four commercial casinos in Upstate New York when these were launched a couple of years ago. Prior to the four commercial casinos entering the state, only local tribes could own or operate gambling facilities.

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