Empire City to resume at 25% capacity
MGM Resorts has announced it will reopen its Empire City Casino in Yonkers, New York at 10am on September 21. In the same press release, the hotel and gaming operator indicated that business at its Park MGM Las Vegas casino is set to resume “within the next 30-45 days”, which translates to between October 9 and 24.
MGM tweeted its Empire City comeback with a post entitled “Get ready, Yonkers!”:
As per the protocols announced by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on September 3, Empire City will initially reopen at 25% capacity. MGM also said “certain MLife members” could gain access to the Northeast casino earlier than September 21, but on an invitation-only basis.
Under reopening regulations, many of Empire City’s 4,700 slot machines and electronic table games will be disabled and chairs removed. Bars must remain closed and food and drinks are not permitted on the gaming floor. The Empire City Chophouse, The Pub, and The Big Kitchen food court will all open for dining.
Empire City has been shuttered for over six months, following its March 16 closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Live racing at Empire City’s Yonkers Raceway continues to operate on a revised schedule behind closed doors. The New York Racing, Pari-Mutuel Wagering and Breeding Law currently prohibits on-property betting.
Pain and solace
CEO and president of MGM Resorts Bill Hornbuckle went on record as saying that Empire City’s reopening followed an “unimaginably difficult and challenging time”. On August 28, MGM Resorts International announced it was letting go 180,000 US employees. Hornbuckle delivered the news to workers in a separation letter, pronouncing: “Nothing pains me more”.
cash donations totaling $225,000
Despite the COVID-19-influenced job cuts, MGM has been doing its bit for the New York community. In total, it presented cash donations totaling $225,000 and a food donation equating to 20,000 meals. Its biggest cash donation was $150,000 to New York’s Health Research, Inc., which empowered first responders and essential workers to disburse $5,000 grants to eligible households.
Thanking healthcare and essential workers and other community stalwarts, Hornbuckle said his organization welcomed its Empire City team back “with strong emotion” and that MGM’s “commitment to New York has never been stronger”.
Meanwhile, over in Vegas
Hornbuckle’s proclamation that Park MGM in Las Vegas is to reopen in October must come as a huge relief for the operator and its employees. With the Four Seasons Hotel in Sin City taking reservations from September 15, all of MGM’s US properties are, or soon will be, back in action.
guaranteed health benefits for 24,000 of its idle workers
As in New York, MGM is active within the Nevada community. When it announced it would assist its working parents with discounted child care and tutoring on August 21, it was the only ‘Big Six’ Nevada casino operator to do so. Then, on August 31, MGM signed an agreement with two Las Vegas unions which guaranteed health benefits for 24,000 of its idle workers through March 1, 2021.
MGM Resorts shuttered all of its properties in March. It began reopening its Sin City properties in June, following clearance from Nevada’s gaming regulators.