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Deals & Dealmakers

MGM boss jockeys to win support for Yonkers gaming license

L to R: BCW Chairman Anthony Justic, BCW Chairman-Elect Heidi Davidson, MGM International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren, BCW President and CEO Marsha Gordon, BCW Vice President and COO John Ravitz.

Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International Chairman and the new owner of Empire City Casino, is betting big on Westchesterʼs thirst for the good life.

The hospitality boss told members of the Business Council of Westchester a full gaming license for the venue is a winning ticket.

“What we can do for Westchester can all be achieved if we get live gaming and full-scale gaming both in terms of sports betting and live table games,” said Mullen.

“We can provide more entertainment whether it’s theatrical or sports. We can provide venues for your high schools, colleges and universities to have a place to play. We can bring our incredible talent of live entertainment. You want to see Lady Gaga? Well, I can bring her to Empire City.”

He also said full gaming at Empire City Casino would generate jobs. “Imagine for a moment. We have 1,200 employees, some of the greatest men and women in our industry. Imagine if there were two or three thousand more employees.”

Murren took part in a 45-minute interview with BCW president and CEO Marsha Gordon during the business group’s annual dinner at the Hilton Westchester.

Over 900 local business executives heard how the NYS Gaming Commission approved MGM Resorts to take over operations of Empire City Casino and Yonkers Raceway following its $850 million purchase of the property.

Their license cover harness racing, simulcasting, account wagering and video lottery gaming although MGM has its eyes firmly set on the NY casino market and has offered to pay $50 million for a live gaming license for Empire City.

Murren talked about how MGM has successfully brought professional sports to Las Vegas and what it could mean for Westchester County.

“Sports, whether it’s collegiate, high school or pro, is the future of what we believe to be the entertainment experience. We want to bring a lot of that content and experience to Westchester County.”

On the topic of corporate social responsibility (CSR), Murren noted that MGM Resorts is committed to a sustainable future.

He said MGM Resorts is building a hundred megawatt solar array — one of the largest in the United States — which will supply 90 percent all the power the company consumes in Las Vegas.

“Investors say they care about CSR. But they don’t put their money where their mouth is enough,” he said.

Speaking about MGM’s corporate culture, Murren said, “We have endeavored to be leaders in terms of the culture we have developed. The majority of our employees are minorities, the majority of our employees are female.

“We have worked very hard to make sure everyone feels included, that we are a diverse and vibrant organization. We are a strong community partner and our record speaks for itself.”

Concluding the interview, Gordon commented “We thank you for what you’re doing here in Yonkers and at Empire City. We look forward to working with you at the Business Council of Westchester.

“We will remain committed to getting a gaming license. We will work with you as you look to engage small businesses and other businesses in the community with great recognition to diversity.”

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