Monticello Casino and Raceway is halting its operations save for harness racing, a form of horse racing, that is said to remain open in the unforeseeable future.
Monticello racino’s parent company Empire Resorts said Tuesday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it is ending its electronic gaming operations on April 23.
The move is expected to affect 160 employees. On the other hand, 40 others will remain to operate the harness racing track that will stay open after the folding of Monticello’s casino operations.
In response to the big change, Empire Resorts is offering the employees it is letting go with either jobs at its other nearby casino, Resorts World Catskills, or severance packages.
The union that represents the company’s workers, Hotel Trades Council, has expressed its gratitude toward the assistance Empire Resorts is giving laid-off workers.
“We’re happy … that they have offered jobs to laid-off members, and we’re constructively talking with the company about adding additional severance,” the union said in a statement.
Empire Resorts reiterated that horse racing at Monticello will continue. However, the parent company also disclosed that there is no guarantee that the track will stay open for long.
It is not surprising that Empire Resorts is keeping its harness racing track alive. The harness track apparently generated millions of dollars annually for years. In 2009, the track was the one that financially rescued the company from bankruptcy.
It is also possible that Empire Resorts is under political pressure by the state to retain its horse racing operation. Unfortunately, the future of the track is uncertain because the popularity of horse racing in the country has dwindled.