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Empire City Casino Among Westchester's 'Outstanding Family Businesses'

Empire City Casino CEO Timothy Rooney (center) pictured here at a past charity event accepted an award this week as one of Westchester County's "outstanding family-owned businesses."
Empire City Casino CEO Timothy Rooney (center) pictured here at a past charity event accepted an award this week as one of Westchester County's "outstanding family-owned businesses." Photo Credit: Provided/Empire City Casino

YONKERS, N.Y. -- Empire City Casino, at Yonkers Raceway, was recognized as one of Westchester County’s most outstanding family-owned businesses during an awards ceremony in White Plains Tuesday..

The casino was one of 26 family-owned businesses in Westchester County and Fairfield County, Conn., honored by Westfair Communications Inc., publisher of the Westchester County Business Journal, Fairfield County Business Journal and WAG, a regional lifestyle magazine.

This is the fourth year Westfair has sponsored the awards.

Empire City Casino's award was accepted by John Rooney, director of IT at ECC and nephew of ECC owner Tim Rooney. The Rooney family acquired the famed Yonkers Raceway, founded in 1899, in 1972. After the state passed legislation authorizing slot machines at horse-racing tracks, the owners closed the Raceway for construction in 2005 and reopened in 2006 as Empire City Casino. It now features 3,500 slot machines, electronic blackjack, three-card poker tables, craps, roulette, baccarat and the Chinese dice game sic bo, as well as harness racing.

The operation also offers live entertainment six days a week, as well as restaurants, bars and a bowling alley.

When asked which comes first in family-owned businesses family or business, Rooney said: “The employees and family members feel like the same person. It’s definitely a balance, but it works if you think of everyone as family.”

The awards were presented by a panel of judges: Anthony Davidson, the dean of Fordham University’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies, Marcia O’Kane, president and CEO of the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce, and economist Pete Gioia, vice president of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association. Andi Gray, the president and founder of Strategy Leaders Inc., a management and business-consulting firm, was a judge but was not at the event.

Ellie Houghtaling is a member of the Purchase College Community Reporting Team

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