Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway, just north of New York City, has revamped its gaming floor. Owned by Vici Properties and operated by MGM Resorts, Westchester County’s Empire City this week announced the placement of more than 1,000 new video lottery terminals (VLTs).
Celestial King video lottery terminals on the gaming floor at Empire City Casino in Yonkers. The New York casino recently brought about 1,000 new machines to the VLT property. (Image: Empire City Casino)
Ryan Munroe, executive director of slot operations at the New York casino, told Casino.org that the new games represent the latest titles in the industry. Among the newcomers are Light & Wonder’s 88 Fortunes Money Coins and Dancing Drums Explosion, Konami Gaming’s Ba Fang Jin Bao, and Aristocrat’s Mighty Cash Double Up.
If you think the casino floor looks different, you are right,” Munroe said. “In my 15 years working at Empire City, I can’t remember a time where we’ve had so many new games hit the gaming floor over a relatively short time period.”
Munroe says players now have the option of betting in various denominations on the VLT terminals, from penny slots to $200 max bet spins.
“A gaming floor overhaul of this magnitude in such a short period of time is unusual in the casino industry,” MGM Resorts added. MGM, the Las Vegas-based casino giant that operates more Strip properties than any other gaming operator, adhered to calls from Empire City staff to improve the gaming experience with the latest VLT products.
Munroe said recent regulatory changes on the state level allowed Empire City to source games from a larger vendor pool. The approximately 1,000 new VLT terminals replace about 20% of the casino’s nearly 5,000 gaming machines.
Along with VLTs, Empire City features electronic table games.
Betting Big on Full License
MGM Resorts is seemingly demonstrating its commitment to Yonkers with the new VLT placement. MGM says Empire City Casino is the largest casino in its portfolio in terms of square footage and the sixth-largest in the US.
MGM hopes to transform Empire City from a VLT property to a full-scale casino in the coming years. New York’s embargo on issuing downstate casino licenses expired this year. The state has three casino licenses to issue for the downstate region. The permits will allow the holders to operate traditional slot machines, live dealer table games, and sports betting.
While VLTs look and operate similar to Las Vegas-style slots, each lottery terminal’s spin determines its result based on a lottery network that links all of the casino’s machines together. With a traditional casino slot, each machine independently determines whether a spin wins based on a random number generator.
Empire City is considered an odds-on favorite for one of the three downstate casino licenses. Resorts World New York City in Queens near JFK International Airport, another VLT casino, is another good bet.
Empire City claimed there are presently multiple progressive terminals with six-figure jackpots spinning on the gaming floor.
The three largest jackpots currently at Empire City are Bally’s Celestial King at nearly $600K, Bally’s Monopoly Millionaire at upwards of $500K, and IGT’s Wheel of Fortune Triple Star, that’s approaching $500K.
Unlike progressive slot machines that pool their jackpots from multiple casinos, Empire City’s progressive VLTs are pooled only from the casino. While that means the jackpots take longer to climb, the ultimate winners will eventually be discovered at Empire City.
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