Empire City Poker Room Review

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The Empire City Casino has a long history, since its founding as a racing club in 1899 and transformation into a state-of-the-art harness racetracktrack and casino. It boasts a plethora of slots and electronic table games, fabulous musical entertainment options and top-notch dining. It is famously the closest casino to NYC, at just 20 miles north of Times Square at Yonkers Raceway and easily accessible from the Big Apple via public transport, charter buses and more.

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This page will cover all of the information you need to plan your trip, including entertainment and dining possibilities, what Empire City Casino games are offered, and more about the casino’s popular live and simulcast harness-racing options. If you have any specific questions, you can find out the answers in this Empire City Casino review or visit frequently asked questions for a quick answer to common questions.

Empire City Casino: What to Expect


  • Empire City Casino: What to Expect
    • Promotions for Gamblers
  • Non-Gambling Related Features of the Casino
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Though the location began as a racetrack and has seen many transformations, Empire City Casino games were first available in 2006. Since then, extensive renovations have added even more gameplay options for patrons. With MGM’s recent acquisition of the racino, it is possible the casino will soon boast a resort as well. Until then, fans can enjoy plenty of different entertainment and betting options.

Empire City Casino Games

The casino’s extensive facilities now offer more than 5,000 different slots, including video poker, slot machines, keno and more. You’ll find fun theme games such as “Friends,” “Wheel of Fortune,” “Dragon Rising” and many others. In addition to slots, Empire City has every beloved table game in convenient electronic formats. Blackjack, roulette, poker and baccarat are just a few of the games available. They play just like their live counterparts and boast “the best odds in town.”

As of the time of writing this Empire City Casino review, it held a Class II License, so it is able to offer a huge number of electronic machines of chance, as well as bets on harness racing, but no live table games. That could change soon, as MGM has its eye on expanding operations at the site, opening a full-scale resort with the capabilities a full-scale gaming license would offer. We will update this page as soon as any of these changes are enacted, but for now, you can find a complete list of Empire City games here:

  • Slots
  • Keno
  • Video Poker
  • Electronic Blackjack
  • Electronic Roulette
  • Electronic Three Card Poker
  • Electronic Sic Bo
  • Electronic Baccarat
  • Electronic Craps
  • Horse Racing

Empire City Casino is an especially good choice for people living in or near New York City, as it is just a short journey away and would make a perfect excursion for an evening with friends. However players looking for live table games and a place to stay overnight may want to visit Turning Stone Resort Casino. No matter what casino in NY you choose to play at, New York State’s Gaming Commission has you covered when it comes to fair play and accurate payouts.

Online Casino Games

Empire City Casino has its own online gaming platform for those who would like the fun of casino play at any place and any time. It should be noted that the online games found at Empire City are only for entertainment purposes. They will not pay out real money, and you must purchase credits to play. They are also accessible via apps for phone or tablet, available for download from the Apple and Android stores. You must be over 18 years old to play.

Promotions for Gamblers

Why not explore Empire City Casino promotions? The best way to keep abreast of the latest promotions is to visit their official calendar page, where current and upcoming promotions are advertised. Some ongoing promotions include: the Tier Tournament Series where winners can enter into draws for free game play, giveaways of Jeep Wranglers, and extra loyalty points for playing slots at certain times.

Empire City promos are linked to their loyalty program, known as the Empire Club. Players earn extra points during some promotions, which they can redeem for perks around the casino. Since promotions change every week or month, and some special promotions only appear once a year, the best way to keep up is to visit Empire City Casino’s website for current offerings. You can read more about Empire City’s loyalty rewards below.

Loyalty Program at the Casino

It is easy to sign up for Empire City Casino’s loyalty program, the Empire Club, in person at the casino using a photo ID. Once you have your card, you can use it to track your gameplay and earn Empire Points. Points are redeemable for food and non-alcoholic beverages in the casino facilities, special merchandise and even valet parking. Your membership card will also gain you entry into exciting promotions.

Does Empire City Have Sports Betting or Bingo?

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Empire City Casino does not currently offer sports betting or bingo, but that could change in the near future with MGM’s recent acquisition of the property. MGM plans to apply for a full-scale gaming license and plans to work with the state to offer legal sports betting on-site. Aside from its slots and electronic table game options, the racino is famous for its ample horse betting options, including live and simulcast races all week long.

Non-Gambling Related Features of the Casino

If you are going to travel to Empire City, you might want to make full use of your trip and enjoy the state-of-the-art entertainment and dining options available to guests. You’ll love Empire City Casino dining options, such as the cozy Nonno’s Trattoria, their international food court, “The Big Kitchen,” and lil’ cocina for quick bites and delicious pastries. The casino also features top-notch music every night of the week. Read on for more about what fun awaits you on your next visit.

Hotel: Gaming and Luxury Combined

Empire City Casino has no hotel on-site at the time of writing, but if you’d like to stay nearby, there are plenty of nearby accommodations to suit your needs! The Hampton Inn & Suites Yonkers-Westchester offers group rates for casino patrons, as well as a convenient shuttle for guests. Read on for more details about their amenities.

Hotel Rooms150 Air-Conditioned Accommodations
Price per Night:$124 – $175
Pool:Indoor Pool and Fitness Center
Room Service:Free Hot Breakfast
Address:559 Tuckahoe Rd, Yonkers, NY 10710

If you’d like to get the most out of your stay, you can easily visit the Empire City Casino from the Hampton Inn, but also stay close to many other top NY tourist attractions. Your stay will be comfortable and fun with access to an indoor pool, fitness center, complimentary breakfast, and AC across all rooms. Stay cool and relaxed and book your stay now!

Events & Entertainment at the Yonkers Racino

Empire City Casino has a plethora of events for interested guests. Its famous Yonkers Raceway is home to thoroughbred and harness races five days a week, but simulcast races and betting are also available. The casino has live music every night, across a variety of genres, all ready to get you dancing. On most Wednesday nights, you can also catch a fantastic lineup of comedians in the casino’s Good Time Room. If you’d like to stay up to date on current Empire City Casino events, visit its official calendar of Empire City events and promotions.

General Company Info

The property has undergone many changes since it initially opened as a racing club in 1899. The track eventually expanded to include betting, and for the first time, the Empire City Casino opened its doors to other gambling in 2006 with the addition of several thousand new slot machines. MGM Resorts bought the property in 2019 and has plans to expand into a full-scale resort, with even more gambling offerings including live table games and sports betting.

Owner:MGM Resorts
Phone Number:+1 914 968-4200
Gaming License Class:Class II
Number of Games:5300+
Hours:10am – 6am (24/7)

MGM Resorts is sure to bring next-level luxury to NYC’s favorite casino destination, as it has with all of its iconic resort and casinos. MGM of course owns and operates many hotels on the Vegas strip, but it has also developed properties such as the MGM Grand Detroit, Borgata in Atlantic City, MGM National Harbor near D.C. and MGM Springfield. Stay tuned for more developments at Empire City Casino.

What are you waiting for?

The destination offers so much to its visitors, with ample gameplay, a variety of dining options, music, comedy and beautiful facilities. Its accessibility from NYC cannot be beat. So what are you waiting for? Plan your visit now using our Empire City review and experience it for yourself!

If you’re interested in visiting a full-scale resort or a destination closer to you, you can explore our other NY casino reviews and find out more about gambling in New York state.

Frequently Asked Questions

We hope this Empire City Casino review has been helpful. We receive more and more questions about specific issues that may not normally appear in reviews, so we have collected some of the most common questions and answers below.

Does Empire City Casino serve complimentary drinks?

Empire City Casino does offer complimentary non-alcoholic drinks on the casino floor. Alcoholic drinks must be enjoyed in any of their many dining establishments, though Empire Club Members may have access to perks like free drinks at comedy nights.

What is the legal age to play at the casino?

The legal age to play at Empire City Casino is 18 years of age. This differs from many area casinos, where the starting age is 21 years old. Please note that you must have a valid form of ID to bet and to collect your winnings.

Are there Empire City Casino table games?

Empire City Casino does not offer live table games at this time, as it is has a Class II license. It does offer many different electronic table games, which is fun, fast and convenient to play with friends.

Can I place sports bets at Empire City Casino?

Empire City Casino does not offer sports betting at this time. This could change in the near future and sports betting offerings expand across the U.S. MGM Resorts has already expressed interest in bringing sports betting to this location.


Is there a hotel at Yonkers Raceway for casino guests?

Empire City Casino does not have any on-site hotel accommodations, but it is within close proximity to several hotels. We can recommend the Hampton Inn & Suites Yonkers-Westchester for shuttle service to the casino and partner rates, as well as Royal Regency and Hampton Inn & Suites Yonkers. It is also easily accessible from New York City, if you live in the city or accommodations there better suit your stay!

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Online poker and sports betting have a new stakeholder ally in New York.

The NYS Gaming Commission on Monday approved MGM Resorts to take over operations of Empire City Casino and Yonkers Raceway. Those licenses allow MGM to move forward on closing its $850 million purchase.

In authorizing MGM Yonkers, Inc. to conduct harness racing, simulcasting, account wagering and video lottery gaming, regulators determined that all required transactional elements are in compliance.

Chairman Barry Sample thanked the Rooney family for their ownership as he welcomed MGM to the state. The Rooneys, known for their ownership of the Pittsburgh Steelers, have held the facility since 1972.

MGM stakes claim near NYC

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With the purchase of the 97-acre site located about 15 miles from Time Square, MGM’s plans likely go beyond the current offerings. As it stands today, the venue operates 5,200 slots and electronic table games in addition to live and simulcast horse racing.


MGM has had its eyes set on the NY casino market for a while, but only if it could acquire a location near New York City. When the state authorized the construction of four new upstate casinos in 2014, MGM balked.

Yonkers will be the only racetrack in the portfolio of MGM, a company that markets itself as an entertainment destination. It could rightly envision this site as the perfect location for a full-fledged casino and entertainment property in the future.

MGM has already tipped its plans for expansion, too. Under the acquisition terms, it will pay an extra $50 million if Empire City is awarded a license for live table games — including poker and blackjack — before 2023.

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Downstate casinos on the horizon?

That 2023 timeline marks the end of a seven-year moratorium on NY casino expansion following the authorization of those upstate properties. Once the moratorium expires, it is presumed that three more casinos will be added in the New York City area.

Having a facility already in place when seeking expanded licensure could allow MGM Yonkers to expand much more quickly than a ground-up casino.

The world’s second-largest casino company will likely press to expedite that timeline. For that matter, it already has a legislative champion close to home. Empire City is located in the district of Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, who chairs the chamber’s Racing and Wagering Committee.

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MGM will press for online poker, sports betting

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Lawmakers in the state Senate have reintroduced bills this year to legalize online poker and to expand the sports betting law to include mobile wagering at additional venues — including racinos like Empire City.

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As a longtime advocate of legal online gaming, MGM will surely exert its lobbying influence behind those bills, as well. Way back in 2014 — before it had a physical presence in the state — it launched a pro-online poker campaign called Let NY Play.

Although Empire City might seem like a small purchase within its current portfolio, MGM is gazing beyond the immediate horizon. In time, it may operate one of the most convenient venues for residents of the country’s largest city to play poker and bet on sports.

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MGM is in the empire business, after all.

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Matthew Kredell - Matthew began writing about legislative efforts to regulate online poker in 2007 after UIGEA interfered with his hobby of playing small-stakes online poker while working as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News. Covering the topic for Bluff Magazine, PokerNews and now Online Poker Report, he has interviewed four U.S. Congressmen and 40+ state legislators. His poker writing has been cited by The Atlantic, Politico.com and CNN.com. Matt also has written on a variety of topics for Playboy Magazine, Men's Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.