Groups call for full-scale gaming license in rally at Yonkers' Empire City Casino
Community partners, elected officials and labor unions called on state leaders to allow a full-scale gaming license for Empire City Casino at a rally on Wednesday.
“Albany, can you hear me? Are you listening?” was one chant of many shouted by supporters of the Yonkers facility.
Labor officials say a full-scale gaming license would allow struggling members to return to working at the MGM Resorts-owned casino.
However, the state currently has a ban on new casino licenses until 2023 to allow business at upstate casinos to develop.
Thomas Carey of Westchester Putnam Center Labor Body tells News 12 the license would be extremely beneficial.
“Our members need jobs… If we get the gaming license back, it creates thousands of jobs for many members,” says Carey.
Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard joined rallygoers in advocating for the license. She believes it would be a boost to her city since 25% of the current workforce at Empire City are Mount Vernon residents.
“Bringing living wage jobs to the region provides people with the economic security that they need to stabilize their lives and provide a future for their children,” says Patterson-Howard.
Empire City currently has video-lottery terminals and electric table games owned by the state, but the license would allow live table games and sports betting.
An Empire City spokesperson issued the following statement to News 12: “The opportunity to apply for a full-scale casino license will be a game-changer, and MGM resorts remains committed to New York and its recovery.” The current legislative session in Albany ends next week and so far, there’s been no word from state lawmakers whether this is an issue they will discuss before leaving for the summer.