YONKERS, N.Y. — Empire City Casino in Yonkers has been around a long time, but, according to officials, it’s not living up to its full potential according to officials.
There’s yet another push for the casino to get a full-scale license.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer said area surrounding the casino would benefit financially.
“The economic impact to the city of Yonkers and the city of Mount Vernon of this site becoming a full casino is incalculable,” Latimer said.
An alliance called “A Sure Bet for New York’s Future” is made up of more than 60 businesses and community organizations in Westchester and the Bronx. The alliance stresses that, if Empire City Casino becomes full-scale, job creation and economic development would not just impact the county, but the region.
John Ravitz, the executive vice president of the Business Council of Westchester, said visitors would have a new experience.
“A full commercial casino license would allow it to replace electronic games with live dealer tables, offer Vegas-style slots, retail sports and significantly more amenities,” Ravitz said.
Assemblyman Gary Pretlow introduced legislation that would repeal the seven-year hiatus put in place by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo initially set it out that four casinos would be completed upstate first; then, seven years later, the downstate casinos could follow.
“The four upstate casinos were built,” Pretlow said. “They’re fully operational now. We’re four years into the seven-year waiting period. I believe that because of the success of the upstate casinos, we don’t have to wait any longer.”
Issuing the downstate licensing, Pretlow said, would create 10,000 jobs.
Becoming full-scale would make visitors like Jeannette Jackson happy too.
“It’d be like Atlantic City, [a] little Atlantic City,” Jackson said. “I’ll come up more often if they have it. I know my husband will.”
Officials hope Gov. Kathy Hochul will take a look at the legislation while in session in January of next year. If the licenses are issued, Assemblyman Pretlow said they could be operational within a week.