A glittering $40 million expansion to the Empire City Casino is expected to put many Bronxites to work.
On Tuesday, July 26, hundreds of supporters joined the casino’s president and owner Timothy Rooney, Jr. and New York State Lottery officials in breaking ground on the new expansion that is expected to create 200 construction jobs over the next six months, and 100 permanent jobs when the addition opens in early 2012.
Among the dignitaries were local elected officials from around the borough, including senators Jeff Klein, Gustavo Rivera, and Ruth Hassell-Thompson.
“Since early 2007, Empire City Casino has contributed over $1 billion to the state’s education system,” said Rooney. “Hundreds of construction jobs and nearly 1,200 permanent jobs have been created. This is a partnership that works well and will continue to prove successful for as long as we have the support and partnership of our elected officials.”
The addition is going to include 66,000 square-feet of new space that will be used for gaming, dining, and office space, as well as a futuristic, high-tech porte-cochere. The new structure will mean that an additional 400 gaming tables will be located in the casino.
Klein helped sponsor the legislation in Albany that permitted the electronic gaming tables that simulate real table games like blackjack, poker, and roulette that are the mainstay of any casino in Atlantic City.
“Yonkers Raceway is an important economic development engine beyond the confines of the city of Yonkers,” Klein said. “It also produces many quality jobs for Bronx residents and that’s why I have worked diligently in Albany to ensure its continued success and expansion.”
Since 29 percent of all visitors to Atlantic City are from New York, the video gaming machines that can be found in Empire City are important for harnessing tax dollars from New York State residents, Klein said.
“We are loosing money every day to Atlantic City,” Klein said. He added that he is now sponsoring legislation that could legalize the table games found in Atlantic City to create additional jobs and revenue.
By contributing $1 billion in education to New York State, Empire City has helped create quality educational opportunities for the children living in his district and all over the state, said Rivera.
The expansion of the casino has a ripple effect that expands beyond its location off Interstate I-87 in Yonkers, New York, said Bronx Chamber of Commerce CEO and president Lenny Caro.
“Presently, Empire City employs approximately 400 people from the Bronx,” Caro said. “When anything opens near the border with Bronx County and it creates jobs, it is beneficial to the entire local community.”