Worker at MGM-owned Yonkers Raceway in New York dies from coronavirus; track closed

Worker at MGM-owned Yonkers Raceway in New York dies from coronavirus; track closed

  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports
March 11, 2020 10:20 AM
  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports

MGM Resorts International said Tuesday it was shutting down its Yonkers Raceway outside New York City after a worker with the Standardbred Owners Association tested positive for the coronavirus and had passed away.

The harness track, which the Las Vegas-based company acquired last year along with the adjacent Empire City Casino, was closed Tuesday afternoon and employees who worked in the immediate area as the affected worker were asked to self-quarantine.

A spokesman for MGM said the Empire City Casino was not affected by the closure since the building is separate from the racetrack.

The Thoroughbred Daily News reported the victim’s name as John Brennan, the Standardbred Owners Association of New York Director representing horsemen at Yonkers. He passed away Tuesday from coronavirus. The New Jersey resident was the state’s first reported victim of COVID-19.

In a statement, MGM said the New Jersey resident worked in the racing office of Yonkers Raceway, which is located next to the racetrack and paddock.

“His death was announced today by New Jersey officials, as he was a resident of the state,” MGM Resorts said in a statement. “We believe the last time he was on the property to be approximately eight days ago. We offer our condolences to his family during this difficult time.”

MGM said the racetrack and the company “will continue to coordinate with and follow the guidance of health officials and support them in their response and prevention efforts.”

MGM Resorts acquired the gaming complex for $850 million in January 2019. Real estate investment trust MGM Growth Properties acquired the 97-acre property and the buildings associated with the development for $625 million from MGM.

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, MGM Resorts said in a statement it was temporarily closing its buffets at ARIA, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Luxor and Excalibur, effective Sunday.

This measure was precautionary and related to coronavirus but was not recommended by any health officials.

“These changes are temporary and will be evaluated on a weekly basis,” the company said in a statement.

MGM Resorts said the company, which has properties throughout the U.S., has maintained close coordination with health officials since the virus first became known. Property and corporate officials are proactively communicating prevention guidelines with guests and employees.

At its properties, MGM has implemented temporary enhanced cleaning procedures and protocols, such as placing hand sanitizer dispensing stations in high-traffic, visible areas such as entrances, exits, elevator landings, and hotel lobbies.

Sharer of MGM Resorts closed at $20.79 on the New York Stock Exchange, up $2.91, or 16.28%.

Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.