Legal gambling has been expanding wildly across the United States in recent years. We’ve never seen more casinos, poker rooms, and sportsbooks open their doors, and more are on the way.
The Empire City Casino has been expanding in its own right for years now and is one of the unique casino experiences you can find, not only in New York City but the entire United States.
Founded in 1899, Empire City Raceway, also known as Yonkers Raceway, is a 1/2-mile standardbred harness racing dirt track located on the border of Yonkers and New York City. Empire City has gone through plenty of expansions over the years and now stands as a fully loaded casino.
Whether called Empire City or Yonkers Raceway, a racino or casino, Empire City Casino has plenty to offer anyone looking for a unique casino experience.
Empire City Casino
Okay, so the Empire City Casino isn’t like many other casinos. First of all, it is completely centered around the harness racing track. This is how it all started, so it makes perfect sense.
However, just as with any industry over a hundred years old, there have been many peaks and valleys in harness racing popularity, hence the expansion. Yes, it still enjoys some popularity to this day, but most of these old-school tracks like Empire City wouldn’t be able to survive without changing their business model.
You’ll notice the casino has a “tacked on” feel to it, and that’s because that’s exactly what happened.
Empire City Slots
The first expansion at Empire City turned the harness track into a racino when it added slot machines. Slots are great revenue producers, and the struggling harness track needed all the revenue it could get.
Today, Empire City is more casino than anything else, and you will find over 5,000 of the most popular slot machines. There is also keno, video poker, and progressive jackpots.
The denominations run from as little as a penny up to $100 on both reels and slots. Expansion into slots was not done half-heartedly.
Empire City Electronic Table Games
Of course, adding slots to the harness race track was just the first step. A racino with daily races and some slot machines is one thing, but a fully-loaded casino is another. However, due to state and local laws and regulations, no games featuring live dealers are allowed.
Only electronic games such as slots can be offered. To get around this and provide the classic casino dealer games people love, Empire City went electric.
Today, all the traditional casino table games are available at Empire City. There is Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, Baccarat, Sic Bo, and Three Card Stud. Of course, the only sticking point is there are no dealers, and these games are all electronic.
The odds and payouts are all the same, just as you would find at a casino on the Vegas Strip. While it may not be a better overall casino, it is a unique casino experience.
After all, there are no more misdeals or long reshuffling wait times. The action stays fast when it’s all electronic.
Empire City Racetrack
While much has changed over the years at Empire City, the one thing to remain the same is the harness racing. A day at the track is always fun, and Empire City offers racing five days a week.
Empire City actually offers great purses to winning horses, and you’ll find the nation’s best harness racing here all season long. This is where it all began for Empire City Casino, so the entire establishment is harness-centric, which is nice to see.
The wagers are easy to make, and there are plenty of vantage points to view the races. Harness racing is quite a unique experience and something everyone should try, especially at a track such as Empire City.
Empire City Promotions
Empire City Casino is actually an MGM property, so they are able to offer the M Life Rewards program, and this makes up the majority of their promotions. With M Life Rewards, members receive points for every dollar they spend.
These points can then be redeemed for cash, comps, and prizes at any MGM property. Also, there are many promotions available at Empire City only open to M Life members. Be sure to check the website for a complete calendar of all the upcoming promotions.
Empire City Dining
There are four separate dining options available at Empire City, and they offer a wide variety of food. No matter what you are craving, Empire City has something for you.
Whether it is The Pub, which offers great beers and bar food, or The Big Kitchen, where you can find all kinds of food from all over the world. There is also the Lil’ Cocina for quick bites.
For those looking for something on the high end, the Empire Chophouse delivers fine steaks with great atmosphere.
All in all, Empire City Casino is a fun racino experience you can’t find in many other places. This isn’t another casino resort or day at the track.
The combination of both experiences definitely adds to the atmosphere. Make no mistake, Empire City is not a gimmick, as there are races all season long, thousands of slots and hundreds of electronic table games to give you a more traditional casino feel.
All the expansions have served Empire City Casino well and made it a one-of-a-kind experience you won’t find anywhere else.