MGM Resorts International has confirmed the purchase of a casino and horse racing track that are located just outside of New York. They bought it for about $605 million, thus helping the owners of this venue to be more present on the East Coast. The Rooney family, which are the current owners of the Empire City Casino in Yonkers, New York also sell the Yonkers Raceway. The Rooneys have been the owners of this venue for more than forty years. The reason why they decided to sell their properties was mainly due to the $245 million debt which will be included in the price that MGM offered in the deal.
Empire City covers 97 acres, and it is a casino that offers a wide variety of slots, electronic table games, and live and simulcast horse racing. Furthermore, their offer includes dining and entertainment which attracted many people not only from the nearby New York but all over the East Coast. However, this seemed not enough to cover the expenses and avoid the debt.
The Empire City venue is about 15 miles away from the Times Square, and it was established for the first time in 1899 under the name of Empire City Trotting Club. The Rooney family bought it in 1972, which cost at the time $52 million. The CEO of Empire City currently is Tim Rooney, and Rooney family is also known as the owners of NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers.
However, the money offered by MGM is not final. Namely, they agreed to add an additional $50 million if the casino manages could get the live table games license for poker and blackjack before 2023. This was a direct result of Supreme Court lifting the ban on sports betting in the US and, since then, casino operators have been making similar deals to this one. Since sports betting is about to bring in huge revenue, casino operators, all kinds of sports leagues and even state governments have been racing to get a share of the possible revenue in the future.
MGM’s plans were not primarily to buy Empire City. In fact, the officials stated that the plan was to open a new casino in Bridgeport, Connecticut. This would be an ideal place as the casino would be reachable by the people from New York via commuter rail. This was seen as a potential threat to the Native Americans who operate casinos in this area.
When it comes to numbers, Empire City stated that they earned $230 million in revenue and additional $70 million in adjusted earnings. However, these are the numbers before the interest, taxes, and other kinds of debts were applied. MGM is present currently at large in Las Vegas, but it also has several operations in the areas in and around Atlantic City, New Jersey, Detroit, and Macau. Their expansion is currently unstoppable and in the future may bring their expansion to the East Coast as well.