Assemblymember Simotas Calls on State Gaming Commission to Reject MGM’s Purchase of Empire City Casino and Yonkers Raceway

September 25, 2018

Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, in a letter to the Chair of the New York State Gaming Commission, said MGM Resorts International should not be allowed to operate the Empire City Casino and Yonkers Raceway because it failed the test of good moral character by mistreating victims of the mass shooting that occurred at its Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on October 1, 2017. While MGM has entered into a purchase agreement for the casino and raceway, the purchase still needs to be approved by the Gaming Commission.

 “MGM’s cruel actions towards the victims of the Las Vegas shooting and its lack of concern for the safety and security of its patrons are sufficient proof that this company is not fit to operate in New York State,” Simotas said in her September 25th letter to Gaming Commission Chair Barry Sample.

The October 1, 2017, MGM’s Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino became the site of a horrendous mass shooting when a gunman fired from his MGM hotel room on people who were attending a music festival; fifty-eight people died and hundreds were injured.  Simotas accused MGM of grossly misusing a federal terrorism law by pre-emptively suing, in July 2018, over a thousand survivors and victims’ family members in order “to evade responsibility for permitting a guest to stockpile high-powered weapons and ammunition in its hotel and open fire on thousands of innocent people.”

 MGM’s lawsuit requests a declaratory judgment stating that the company is immune from liability for the massacre under the federal Support Antiterrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002.

“These victims have already suffered through an unimaginable trauma; it is unconscionable for MGM to use a twisted legal strategy to prevent them from seeking damages and holding the company accountable for its failure to adequately protect them from harm,” Simotas wrote to Chair Barry Sample.

“More astonishing is that the company has been pressuring victims to waive their rights to personal service of process by offering to make small charitable donations in their names in exchange for their release. This is manipulative, self-serving and places an additional legal burden on victims who are still recovering from a horrific act of violence, Simotas’s letter said.

In conclusion, Simotas wrote, “We must not associate with nor give any official stamp of approval to a corporation such as MGM that has deployed such abhorrent legal tactics. To do so is beneath us and sends a message that New Yorkers are fair game for unscrupulous operators. “

Letter to Gaming Commission: https://www.scribd.com/document/389433638/MGM-Letter