I recently went to Empire for the second time. My first trip was rather bad. This one was surprisingly better.

While we were forced to park pretty far away, the shuttle came by every 7 or 8 minutes. I know this because we actually sat in the car for about a half hour talking and timing them. There were two buses covering the roughly one mile circuit.
Facility is smoke free and not at all cramped. There is a central bar area that featured a very good Motown cover band.There were numereous ticket redemption machines throughout the facility. A very wide assortment of games, mostly ones I haven't seen in AC or Vegas. They did seem a bit tight.
Within a few weeks, I got a few offers from their players club. nothing great-$6 food comp, $10 in free play sort of thing.
Its a pale imitation of a real AC/Vegas casino but I had an enjoyable night, even with a small loss.

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