MGM Resort's Purchase of Empire City Casino Put on Hold

Empire City Casino in Yonkers, New York was supposed to come under MGM Resorts ownership on Thursday, January 3rd – however, an unexpected last-minute action by the New York Gaming Commission canceled the scheduled meeting during which the acquisition should have been confirmed.

A scarce official explanation was given by the gaming regulator – however the $850 million sale of the property to MGM is definitely postponed until further notice.

Despite the rumors that there was something significantly wrong with the deal from the legal stand-point…

…further investigation of the issue concluded that the meeting was delayed because the parties involved couldn’t get the sufficient number of board members to attend it.

Transaction is Fine

The Gaming Commission’s representatives have said, after asked what the issue was, that three of its five members were not able to attend the meeting.

“There are no issues with the transaction. It was a matter of process in holding the special meeting and getting a quorum.”

The Empire City Casino venue with 5,300 video slot terminals and electronic table games will proceed to operate as before until the purchase is completed. The meeting has not yet been rescheduled.

Mike Spano, Yonkers Mayor, has said that MGM Resorts representatives are working on scheduling a new date for the meeting so that the sale should go as planned. He confirmed that the only issue here was that the Gaming Commission “failed to gather a quorum.”

Historical Change of Owners

The $850 million deal between MGM Resorts and the Rooney family was struck in May last year. The Rooneys have owned the NY racetrack and casino for 46 years.

The NY Gaming Commission hasn’t released the MGM Resorts’ application to get the Empire City Casino license from the Rooney family.

The Commission wishes to have insight into MGM’s plans for this particular property…

…and the Mayor, Mike Spano, said that the operator is “being guarded with the blueprints” who unveil something truly huge and grandiose.

MGM obliged and announced its 2020 Plan and among the resolutions noted there is the reduction of costs, improvement of drive margin and positioning for the future growth.

Atlantic region, particularly New England, is one of the crucial areas for MGM in the coming year as it has been in the past. In December 2017, the company opened the $1.4 billion MGM National Harbor in Maryland. In August last year, operations began in $960 million integrated resort in Massachusetts – MGM Springfield.


“Why the Empire City Casino sale to MGM is delayed”, Spector Joseph,, January 3, 2019.

“Empire City Casino: New York regulators abruptly cancel meeting on MGM purchase”,, January 3, 2019.

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