MGM Resorts Announces Empire City NY, Park MGM Las Vegas Casino Reopenings

  • Yonkers casino reopening September 21, Vegas property anytime between October 9 and 24
  • Select MLife members able to access Empire City at an earlier date by invitation only
  • Operator donated $225k to New York community bodies, 20,000 meals during COVID-19 closure
  • All properties to restart activity as Four Seasons Las Vegas resumes reservations September 15
  • MGM offering childcare, tutoring support plus guaranteed health benefits for 24,000 Nevada staff
Park MGM entrance closed up with metal barriers
MGM Resorts is reopening its Empire City Casino in Yonkers, New York on September 21, with Park MGM Las Vegas expected to follow suit in October. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

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.

Additionally, the hotel and casino company donated $25,000 to the Bronx Community Relief Effort. It also gave $25,000 to the World Central Kitchen, which provides fresh produce and daily meals to over 60 Bronx locations through its Nourish New York programme. $25,000 went to Feeding Westchester, while over 25,000 pounds of food reached Caritas of Port Chester.

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.