Jockeying for position
Since opening late last year, Resorts World Casino New York at Aqueduct Racetrack has dominated gaming coverage within the New York City metro area. But the metro area’s other major gaming venue-Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway-has started to make noise, reminding the public and politicians of its positive impact on the region’s economy-essentially jump starting its claim to a full-scale casino gaming license if and when the state decides to issue them.
Indeed, Empire City Casino appears to have a pretty hefty effect on Yonkers and surrounding Westchester and Bronx Counties. According to a recent study of the economic impact of the New York’s nine racetrack casinos compiled by Appleseed Inc., a New York City-based firm that specializes in providing economic and social research analysis, Empire City Casino generated more than $262 million in economic activity last year, principally in Westchester County and the downstate region, supporting 3,421 full and part-time jobs that provided $33 million in wages and salaries. Additionally, the raceway and casino produced more than $425 million in revenue for local and state governments with more than $320 million going to support education.
All told, the racino was responsible for more than $687 million in economic activity in 2011, and has contributed more than $1.5 billion for education in New York State since opening in 2006.
“We at Empire City are proud of the vital role we play as a provider of jobs and a producer of economic growth in Yonkers, Westchester County and the New York City region” said Timothy J. Rooney, Jr., general counsel at Empire City in a prepared statement. “This study vividly illustrates just how significant that role is and how our success produces huge dividends for our schools, our community and our state.”
• Accounted for more than $262 million in economic output;
• Reinvested nearly $24 million into the economy with the purchase of goods and services (including construction) from New York-based businesses, principally in Westchester County, New York City and the downstate region;
• Accounted directly and indirectly for $30 million in revenues for Westchester County municipalities;
• Generated nearly $388 million in State revenues, of which nearly $321 million went towards education in New York State, which is the equivalent of paying the salaries of more than 4,599 elementary and secondary school teachers throughout New York State.
New York’s nine racinos contributed a combined $1.96 billion to the state in 2011, according to the Appleseed study. Over $830.5 million has gone to fund education in New York State which is the equivalent of paying the salaries of more than 11,900 elementary and secondary school teachers throughout New York. The nine racetrack casinos employ nearly 5,500 New Yorkers directly and have created a total of 17,400 jobs both directly and indirectly across the state.