- Empire Resorts announces plans to cease electronic gaming operations at Monticello Casino & Raceway
- Harness racing track will remain open and 40 employees will remain on site
- 160 employees will be transferred to the Resorts World Catskills or can choose a severance package
A Securities and Exchange Commission filing this week announced that the Monticello Casino and Raceway will be closing electronic gaming operations soon. April 23 is the date set for closure, but the property may shut down operations earlier than that. The harness racing track will remain open.
Track opened in 1958
The Monticello, New York, property opened in June of 1958 to offer standardbred horse races to attract more visitors to the resort area. The property was renamed and renovated in 2004. Changes were made to include video lottery terminals. These gaming machines will now be shut down. About 160 employees will lose employment.
The owner of the property is Empire Resorts, which will offer employment at their Resorts World Catskills to some of those who will be laid off. Those who do not want to transfer will receive a severance package. A total of 40 employees will remain to operate the raceway.
Empire Resorts CEO Ryan Eller said: “Empire Resorts continually evaluates our operations to ensure we are working efficiently, competing effectively, and delivering the best experience and greatest value to our customers. To deliver on these promises, and in order to improve revenue performance at our nearby Resorts World Catskills property, we have made the decision to cease gaming operations on April 23, 2019, at Monticello Casino and Raceway and focus on gaming operations at Resorts World Catskills.”
Because employees will be laid off, union representatives are in talks with the company for additional severance pay. The Hotel Trades Council said that they are happy that the company offered new jobs to those who will be laid off.
Low revenues and losses
Empire Resorts decided to close Monticello gaming operations to focus on the Resorts World Catskills. The Monticello property and Resorts World are only six miles apart. The goal now is to focus on avoiding cannibalizing revenues from the more than 2,100 slot machines and 150 table games at the Resorts World property.
The company is hoping to improve earnings. An average loss of $10m (£7.7m) to $13m (£9.95m) has occurred per month since the Resorts World Catskills was opened. The closure of gaming at Monticello will help to increase the operational efficiency of Resorts World. It will also allow Empire Resorts to enhance the overall casino experience at the property.
As for the harness racing, the facility will remain open for now. No guarantees were made in the SEC filing, as to the long-term future of the track.