In New York, the Empire City Casino At Yonkers Raceway is celebrating its tenth birthday this week and has revealed that gamblers have wagered more than $71 billion since the slots-only facility opened in 2006. In FY15/16 alone the casino saw $9.1 billion in wagers.
According to a report from The Journal News newspaper, the Yonkers venue is controlled by businessman Tim Rooney and has invested more than $400 million in infrastructure projects to keep players happy with approximately $50 million of this coming since Genting Group inaugurated its rival Resorts World New York City facility in nearby Queens in late-2011.
“When Resorts World [New York City] opened, we could have lost up to 35% of our business because a big part comes from Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens,” said Taryn Duffy from the Empire City Casino At Yonkers Raceway, which is located about 15 miles north of midtown Manhattan. “We’re thrilled to know that we haven’t lost all that. People love this property.”
Duffy revealed that revenues for the Empire City Casino At Yonkers Raceway, which has about 5,225 slots, are higher than ever with the Westchester County facility welcoming an ever-growing number of annual visitors that last year reached around eight million.
Originally devised as a way to help the state’s harness horseracing industry survive, the casino has so far paid out about $196 million in host-city payments with $19.6 million of this coming in the twelve months to the end of March alongside property taxes and pumping in excess of $2.7 billion into state education programs including $288.8 million last year.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, the Empire City Casino At Yonkers Raceway moreover serves as the largest private employer in Yonkers with its $45 million annual payroll going to about 1,350 employees who are members of 14 trade unions.
“I believe it was a great investment and it created a lot of jobs and a lot of new revenues and will continue to boost the image of the city,” said Mike Spano, the mayor of Yonkers.
The Democratic official estimated that his city collects around $50 million a year from the Empire City Casino At Yonkers Raceway via host-city fees, payments and property and sales taxes.
The Journal News reported that the Empire City Casino At Yonkers Raceway will soon face another challenge when the Montreign Resort Casino opens in the Sullivan County town of Thompson, which is less than a three-hour drive from Yonkers. This facility from Empire Resorts Incorporated is set to offer a 390-room hotel, banquet hall, conference rooms, restaurants, a spa and a salon alongside an 80,000 sq ft casino.
However, Duffy declared that the Empire City Casino At Yonkers Raceway intends to compete by possibly applying for a full casino gaming license once the current seven-year moratorium on such facilities for southeast New York state expires in 2020.
“We anticipate applying for and obtaining a full gaming license once they become available downstate,” said Duffy.
This article has been updated to correct a typographical error of million to billion and to add most recent numbers.