A planned vote by the New York State Gaming Commission on licenses related to MGM Resorts International $850 million purchase of Empire City Casino in Yonkers has been put on hold.The gaming commission had a vote on multiple licenses for the Las Vegas-based MGM on the agenda for its Jan. 3 meeting. But late Wednesday night, the commission posted a notice to its Facebook page that the meeting is rescheduled until further notice.
Commission spokesman Brad Maione said the commission did not reach a quorum for the meeting. A new date is yet to be set.
The commission was scheduled to vote on licenses for MGM that would have allowed it to conduct harness racing, simulcasting, account wagering on racing and video lottery gaming at the Yonkers raceway.
The approvals are part of the regulatory review process for MGM’s Empire City takeover. The company announced its plan to buy Empire City in May from the Rooney family, who has owned the racetrack and casino for more than 46 years.
MGM has previously said the deal would close by early 2019. The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the commission’s delay.
The 97-acre Empire City facility offers more than 5,200 slots and electronic table games, dining outlets, entertainment, as well as live and simulcast horse racing.
In October, Yonkers officials said the city would receive between $7 million and $8 million from the transaction via a transfer tax payment.
In December, MGM appointed Uri Clinton as president and CEO of Empire City. Clinton previously managed MGM Resorts’ efforts to explore development opportunities in Connecticut and New York, a role which will continue along with the Empire City leadership, MGM said.
MGM’s exact plans for the casino and raceway have yet to be announced. The gaming commission reportedly denied a request from USA Today Network’s Albany Bureau to release MGM’s application for the acquisition.
As part of the purchase, MGM Resorts agreed to pay an additional $50 million to the previous ownership if Empire City is awarded a license for live table games prior to Dec. 31, 2022. In October, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said full gaming at the site “would provide a major boost to the city’s tax base and would result in thousands of new permanent jobs that pay well.”
Yonkers Raceway was founded in 1899 as the Empire City Trotting Club. The Rooney family acquired the raceway in 1972. In 2012, Empire City completed a 65,000-square-foot expansion that added gaming and restaurant space.