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MGM Resorts Buys Empire City Casino, Yonkers Raceway For $850 Million

Empire City Casino current CEO Timothy Rooney (center) joined city and county officials in presenting hundreds of donated toys to Catholic Charities inside Empire City Casino, which now may be sold to MGM Resorts.
Empire City Casino current CEO Timothy Rooney (center) joined city and county officials in presenting hundreds of donated toys to Catholic Charities inside Empire City Casino, which now may be sold to MGM Resorts. Photo Credit: Empire City Casino

This story has been updated.

MGM Resorts International and MGM Growth Properties LLC announced that MGM Resorts has entered into an agreement to acquire the Empire City Casino's race track, Yonkers Raceway, and the casino for $850 million.

MGM Resorts and MGP have entered into an agreement whereby MGP will acquire the developed real property associated with Empire City from MGM Resorts and lease it back to a subsidiary of MGM Resorts, after which a subsidiary of MGM Resorts will operate the property, it was announced on Tuesday morning, May 29.

"We are excited to announce the addition of Empire City to the MGM Resorts portfolio," said Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International. "This acquisition represents an excellent opportunity to further solidify our presence on the East Coast, and in particular, expand our reach into the high-density New York City region. We believe this transaction enhances our free cash flow profile and presents attractive future opportunities for the Company, and we look forward to welcoming the Empire City team and guests to the MGM Resorts family."

MGM Resorts will pay the approximately $850 million, subject to customary working capital and other adjustments, including the refinancing of Empire City's outstanding debt, which is expected to be approximately $245 million at the time of closing.

MGM Resorts expects that approximately $260 million of the remaining consideration will be in the form of MGM Resorts common stock. Furthermore, MGM Resorts has agreed to pay additional consideration of $50 million if Empire City is awarded a license for live gambling table games on or prior to Dec. 31, 2022 and MGM Resorts accepts such license by Dec. 31, 2024.

John Ravitz, executive vice president of the Business Council of Westchester, welcomed Tuesday's news of the sale.

"The agreement to sell Empire City Casino to MGM Resorts International promises to be a major economic milestone for the City of Yonkers, Westchester County and New York state," Ravitz said. "The iconic property has been operated with pride and foresight by the Rooney family since 1972 and under their stewardship evolved from its origins as Yonkers Raceway to today’s multi-faceted entertainment complex. Empire City has emerged a major economic driver with more than 1,200 employees and a $45 million annual payroll, nearly eight million annual visitors and one of the most successful gaming operations in the nation."

Ravitz added, "The proximity of Empire City to New York City and the entire metropolitan area is unrivaled, while its potential for far greater financial success with the addition of full gaming license remains untapped."

"Gaining a full gaming license for Empire City has long been a top legislative priority. We look forward to continuing these efforts with the new ownership. MGM is a global player with the resources and expertise to carry forward the work of the Rooney family and to bring the full-potential of Empire City to fruition. We thank the Rooneys for their deep commitment to Westchester County and for creating the solid foundation for future success," Ravitz said.

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