In 2013, voters in New York approved a constitutional amendment that allowed the expansion of casinos in the state as part of the wider plan by the state to revive the economy of the troubled upstate region. According to Kate Lombardi of the Westchester Magazine, the move has started a flurry of activities which are expected to revolutionize the state’s gambling industry. Indeed, immediately after the approval, developers such as Resorts World and Caesars jumped into the scene by unveiled huge investment plans. On April 1, 2015 a new budget provision was approved by the New York State assembly in Albany to allow horse track casinos or rasinos to expand their video gambling activities to include three-card poker and electronic blackjack. Horse track casinos have traditionally had limited gaming options because they are not legally allowed to offer table and card games like the other fully-fledge licensed casinos.
The new legislative measures will now allow multiple numbers of players to play an electronic table game. This is in addition to the agreement that skill and chance can be used to dictate the outcome of some games. Industry analysts believe these changes will greatly alter the fortunes of rasinos in New York such as Tioga Downs and Empire City at Yonkers Raceway. According to Matt Coyne of Lohud journal news, Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway is already installing electronic blackjack with the aim of boosting its revenues in order to compete effectively with other players in the gambling industry. The new game will join the likes of electronic roulette, baccarat, craps, Sic Bo and craps which have been in the gaming menu for some time. Reports indicate that Empire City has already installed 52 machines and is on its way to install a total of 98 machines in the coming days. Empire Casino hopes to install a total of 500 machines in the final count.
Taryn Duffy, the spokeswoman for the casino believes video blackjack will help Empire City tap into the current revenue stream being spent in Connecticut and New Jersey by New Yorkers. In 2014, only a handful of racisinos in the state experienced positive growth, these were the Resorts World Casino in Queens and Batavia Downs. Resorts World Casino is planning to install over 300 of its own machines before fall. The Monticello Raceway in the Catskills, which is owned by Empire Resorts, has already installed one 3-Card poker table and 3 blackjack tables. At the moment, three racetracks in western New York with video lottery terminals are prohibited by law from adding electronic table games. Batavia Downs, Finger Lakes and Buffalo Raceway cannot introduce the new game because the Seneca Nation of Indians has entered into an exclusive gaming contract with the New York state. The contract is slated to expire in 2023.
Empire City at Yonkers Raceway has a half-mile horse track, which features harness racing. The racino boasts 120,000 square foot gaming space with over 5,000 slot machines. Empire City casino also has two bars and four restaurants. The restaurants are Nonno’s Trattoria, Dand Rooney’s Pub and restaurant, the Empire Terrace and the International Food Court. In terms of gaming titles, the Empire City casino offers a number of popular games including Total Meltdown, Dragon Lines, Family Guy AVP, Fort Knox, Pegasus and Roaming Reels. Games such as instant blackjack and Roulette can be played on smartphone and tablet as well as mobile devices using a mobile App that is accessible via the official casino website. The exclusive Empire City VIP club offers a number of benefits and incentives to registered members.
To join the Empire Casino VIP club, players must accumulate a certain set virtual credits on their online account. When it comes to promotions, players at Empire City have a number of highly rewarding promos that run on a regular basis. The promotions include; the daily login bonus, the loyalty rewards promotion and the slots leaderboard challenges. Winners of the slot leaderboard challenge can receive up to $250,000 in virtual credits. Empire City was purchased in 1972 by the Rooney family which also owns majority shares in Pittsburg Steelers. The family has a long history when it comes to operating racetracks. Some of the tracks the family owns include a thoroughbred track in Cleveland, Shamrock Stables in Maryland and Palm Beach Kennel Club in Florida. The family once operated the Liberty Bell Park racetrack which is close to Pennsylvania.