Collaboration Between New York’s Premier Integrated Commercial Casino
Resort Destination and World’s Largest Online Sports Betting Operator
Positions Resorts World Catskills as Leading NY State Sports Betting and
bet365 to Invest up to $50 Million to Become Empire Resorts, Inc.’s
Second Largest Shareholder
Kien Huat Realty III, Ltd. Commits up to $126 Million Investment via
Convertible Preferred Stock
MONTICELLO, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 14, 2018--
Resorts, Inc. (NasdaqGM: NYNY) (together with its subsidiaries,
“Empire”) and an affiliate of bet365
Group Limited (“bet365”) today announced a strategic alliance to
develop a physical and online sportsbook in New York State at Resorts
World Catskills, New York’s newest and largest integrated commercial
casino resort destination with closest proximity to Manhattan. Empire
and an affiliate of bet365, the world’s largest online sports bookmaker,
entered into a 20-year agreement (the “Sports Wagering Agreement”) to
offer retail sports betting, an online sportsbook and online gaming at
Resorts World Catskills if and when permitted by applicable law. Under
the Sports Wagering Agreement, Empire and bet365 will establish New
York’s premier sports betting and online gaming option. This agreement
provides for the companies to share profits 50/50 after bet365 recoups
its start-up and other costs.
In connection with the Sports Wagering Agreement, an affiliate of bet365
will acquire up to $50 million of Empire common stock at a price of $20
per share in two tranches, making it Empire’s second largest
stockholder. Additionally, Kien Huat Realty III, Ltd. (“Kien Huat”),
Empire’s largest stockholder, has committed to purchase up to $126
million of convertible preferred stock, with a conversion price of $20
per share. The investment by bet365 and the commitment by Kien Huat
strengthens Empire’s financial position and underscores Kien Huat’s view
of the potential for value creation in Empire’s Resorts World Catskills.
Resorts World Catskills is one of only four commercial casinos in New
York State currently authorized by statute to offer retail sports
betting pending the promulgation of regulations. Resorts World Catskills
is ideally positioned to offer sports betting with the expertise of
bet365, which is ranked No. 1 in sportsbook revenues globally with
annual revenues of over $3 billion and No. 1 in the EGR Global Power 50
rankings from 2010 to 2017. bet365 operates a highly successful in-play
betting product with a scalable and growing mobile platform.
“Joining forces with bet365 positions Empire and our flagship Resorts
World Catskills to lead a potentially enormous new market,” said Manny
Pearlman, Executive Chairman of Empire Resorts, Inc. “bet365’s global
expertise in effectively developing and executing world-class
sportsbooks strongly complements Empire’s leadership in commercial
casino operations in New York. This collaboration, which will enable
Resorts World Catskills to be a leading destination for sports wagering
in New York State, highlights our commitment to the continued growth of
Resorts World Catskills, as well as our dedication to working with the
best, most innovative pioneers in the industry to provide world-class
The alliance provides bet365 access to the New York State sports
wagering market, which, according to market estimates by Eilers &
Krejcik Gaming LLC, is expected to be the single largest market
jurisdiction for sports betting in the United States other than
California, with projections for more than $1 billion in annual revenues
from sports betting within five years of legalization.1
Following the announcement of a market access deal in New Jersey earlier
this year, bet365 is well positioned for sports betting expansion into
New York State.
“This landmark agreement, which combines Empire’s gaming operating skill
with our expertise in providing best-in-class online sports betting,
allows bet365 to tap into what we believe will be one of the most
significant online and sportsbook markets in the United States,” said
Simon Betteley, President of Hillside (New York) LLC, a bet365 affiliate.
The alliance with bet365 is the next phase of Resorts World Catskills’
growth, including the addition of a new hotel with two dining and
entertainment venues by the end of the year. In 2019, two additional
hospitality venues are expected to open at the destination resort in
which Resorts World Catskills is located. The Kartrite Hotel and Indoor
Waterpark is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2019, and a Rees
Jones redesign of the well-known Monster golf course will debut in the
second half of 2019.
Following its initial investment, which closed today, an affiliate of
bet365 will own approximately 4.9% of Empire’s outstanding common stock.
Pursuant to the Sports Wagering Agreement, the parties expect to use the
bet365 brand and online consumer facing sports betting and digital
Moelis & Company LLC acted as financial advisor and Milbank Tweed Hadley
& McCloy LLP, Sidley Austin LLP, Ellenoff Grossman & Schole LLP and Fox
Rothschild LLP acted as legal counsel to Empire Resorts, Inc.Brownstein
Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP acted as legal counsel to bet365 Group Limited.
About Empire Resorts, Inc.
Empire Resorts, Inc. was organized as a Delaware corporation on March
19, 1993, and since that time has served as a holding company for
various subsidiaries engaged in the hospitality and gaming industries.
Empire owns and operates Resorts
World Catskills, an all-season
integrated destination casino resort located in Sullivan County, New
York, approximately 90 miles from New York City. Resorts World Catskills
includes an 18-story hotel, casino and entertainment complex featuring
more than 100,000 square feet of gaming action including 2,150
state-of-the-art slot machines, 150 live table games, a poker room and
private gaming salons. The casino resort also offers more than 10 varied
bar and restaurant experiences, which includes an Italian steakhouse
created by celebrity chef Scott Conant, and year-round live
entertainment at the 2,500-seat RW Epicenter, casino bars and lounges.
The luxurious hotel, which, upon completion, is comprised of 332 suites,
including 27 premium accommodations consisting of garden suites,
penthouse suites and two-story villas, the Crystal Life Spa, two indoor
pools, and two fitness centers.
The destination resort in which Resorts World Catskills also includes an
entertainment project providing additional entertainment, food and hotel
accommodations which will be completed by the end of the year. In 2019,
a Rees Jones-redesign of the well-known Monster golf course and The
Kartrite Hotel and Indoor Waterpark will also be added to this
Empire also owns and operates Monticello Casino and Raceway, a
45,000-square foot video gaming machine and harness horseracing facility
located in Monticello, New York, approximately 90 miles northwest of
New York City.
Further information about the Company is available at www.empireresorts.com,www.rwcatskills.com and www.monticellocasinoandraceway.com.
bet365 is the world’s largest online sportsbetting company with annual
sportsbook revenues of over $3 billion and over 4,000 employees.
bet365 offers the industry’s widest range of ‘in-play’ sports betting
events with around 75 sports covered and over 160,000 events being live
video streamed annually on the bet365 sites, offering customers the
ability to watch those sports events whilst betting.
bet365 is licensed and regulated in Great Britain, Gibraltar, Malta,
Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Australia
and has multiple other license applications pending or in process.
bet365 has extensive experience at working with local licensing,
regulatory and reporting requirements and pays substantial duties and
license fees in each of those jurisdictions.
bet365 is recognised as an industry leader and has been the winner of
many industry awards including the eGamingReview Operator of the Year
and Sportsbetting Operator of the Year, and is currently rated #1 in the
eGR Power 50’ as a result of its reputation and influence within the
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking Information
This press release includes "forward-looking statements" intended to
qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by the Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements include
statements about our plans, strategies, financial performance, prospects
or future events and involve known and unknown risks that are difficult
to predict. As a result, our actual results, performance or achievements
may differ materially from those expressed or implied by these
forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify
forward-looking statements by the use of words such as "may," "could,"
"expect," "intend," "plan," "seek," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate,"
"predict," "potential," "continue," "likely," "will," "would" and
variations of these terms and similar expressions, or the negative of
these terms or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements are
necessarily based upon estimates and assumptions that, while considered
reasonable by Empire and our management team, are inherently uncertain.
Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from current
expectations include, among others, levels of spending in business and
leisure segments as well as consumer confidence; changes in the
competitive environment in the gaming industry and the markets where we
operate; the extent to which New York State legalizes sports betting in
the wake of the Supreme Court's decision regarding the Professional and
Amateur Sports Protection Act, the effects of new laws and regulations,
Empire's ability to successfully execute on the Sports Wagering
Agreement; the ability to meet and maintain compliance with legal and
regulatory restrictions on our business, including in relation to our
advertising, customer promotion and marketing activities; recognition of
and loyalty to the Resorts World Catskills and bet365 brands; customer
preference for competing hospitality and gaming brands operating in our
market; and other factors described from time to time in Empire’s
filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We caution you not
to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which are
made as of the date of this press release. We undertake no obligation to
update publicly any of these forward-looking statements to reflect
actual results, new information or future events, changes in assumptions
or changes in other factors affecting forward-looking statements, except
to the extent required by applicable laws. If we update one or more
forward-looking statements, no inference should be drawn that we will
make additional updates with respect to those or other forward-looking
1Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, LLC, “Regulated Sports Betting:
Defining the U.S. Opportunity,” September 26, 2017
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181114005167/en/
Source: Empire Resorts, Inc.
Hugh Burns/Renee Soto,