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Empire Resorts and bet365 Forge Strategic Alliance to Offer Sports Betting and Online Gaming in New York State at Resorts World Catskills

Zoltan Tundik

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  • 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 Gaming Destination
  • 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

Empire 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 gaming options.”

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 platform.

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.

After starting out as an affiliate in 2009 and developing some recognized review portals, I have moved deeper into journalism and media. My experience has lead me to move into the B2B sector and write about compliance updates and report around the happenings of the online and land based gaming sector.

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Gambling in the USA

Republican Senator Says Anti-Loot Box Bill Mainly Focus on Children

Niji Narayan

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Republican Senator Says Anti-Loot Box Bill Mainly Focus on Children
Photo Source: politico.com
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

Josh Hawley, the Republican senator, has made waves with his proposal “Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act.” The bill would ban loot boxes and microtransactions in games “designed for children.” According to Hawley, children are the main focus of the bill.

Hawley revealed that the idea for the bill came from “being a parent of two little boys,” as well as “talking to a lot of parents.” He also mentioned that he has heard from “lots of gamers” about their worries about the increasing volume of microtransactions in all kinds of games. Hawley also said that his children do not currently play games at all.

According to Hawley, children may not “know the nature of these microtransactions.” Comparing them to casinos, which of course minors aren’t legally able to enter, he noted that this bill falls in line with other efforts to “regulate what our children are exposed to.”

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Gambling in the USA

The Cordish Companies Announces Key Executive Appointments In Gaming Division Expansion

George Miller

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The Cordish Companies Announces Key Executive Appointments In Gaming Division Expansion
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Travis Lamb Elevated to Chief Financial Officer of Cordish Gaming Group; Anthony Faranca Named Executive Vice President & General Manager of Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover, Maryland

 

The Cordish Companies announced key appointments to its corporate executive team in the Gaming & Lodging division, as the company moves to expand the Live! brand in the Mid-Atlantic region with the development of two new gaming properties in Pennsylvania.

TRAVIS LAMB, who most recently served as Executive Vice President & General Manager of Live! Casino & Hotel, in Hanover, MD, has been elevated to the new position of Chief Financial Officer for Cordish Gaming Group, the company’s international gaming division.

Succeeding Lamb will be ANTHONY FARANCA who joins the company as Executive Vice President & General Manager of Live! Casino & Hotel. Both appointments are effective immediately.

The announcements come as The Cordish Companies prepares for significant growth with the addition of two new gaming properties, including Live! Casino & Hotel in Philadelphia, PA, and Live! Casino in Westmoreland County, PA, just outside of Pittsburgh. Additionally, Live! Casino & Hotel in Maryland is putting the finishing touches on a significant expansion of its Event Center to accommodate up to 4,000 seats upon completion.

“We are incredibly fortunate as a company to have a leader as skilled and knowledgeable as Travis and we’re pleased to elevate him to a position where he can have even greater impact on the growth of our gaming ventures in both Maryland and Pennsylvania,” said David Cordish, Chairman, The Cordish Companies. “We are also thrilled to have a gaming executive as experienced as Anthony on board and know he will be a fantastic addition to our flagship property in Maryland.”

TRAVIS LAMB is a senior level executive with more than 25 years of experience in the casino gaming industry, primarily serving in strategic planning and analysis and financial leadership positions. In his new capacity as CFO of Cordish Gaming Group, Mr. Lamb will oversee the planning, implementation and management of all the financial activities of the company’s gaming projects, including the newest ventures in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Mr. Lamb joined The Cordish Companies as Chief Financial Officer of Live! Casino & Hotel and was later promoted to General Manager, where he oversaw the addition of the flagship Live! Hotel and the expansion of the Live! Event Center. Prior, Mr. Lamb served as Vice President of Finance at Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack, where his duties included managing financial accounting, income audits, planning & analysis, risk management and regulatory compliance, while overseeing a financial team of 100 employees. He also spent six years as Harrah’s Eastern Division Vice President of Financial Planning & Analysis, working with ten properties from Iowa to Atlantic City, including Canada and the Bahamas. Mr. Lamb also has ten years of experience serving in finance leadership positions with Harrah’s East Chicago Riverboat Casino Hotel and Showboat Atlantic City Casino Hotel.

ANTHONY FARANCA brings more than 25 years of diverse management experience from multiple gaming jurisdictions to his new role as Executive Vice President and General Manager of Live! Casino & Hotel in Maryland, where he will assume oversight of the day-to-day management and operations of one of the largest commercial casinos in the country.

Mr. Faranca most recently served as Vice President and General Manager for Station Casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada, before joining the Live! Team. Prior, he held the position of Vice President and General Manager for Parx Casino in Pennsylvania, where he helped affirm the property’s status as the number one revenue-producing facility in the state. In addition, Mr. Faranca spent several years in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he served as Vice President of National Casino Marketing for Caesars Entertainment. Throughout his career, Mr. Faranca has helped organizations drive growth through effective marketing, enhanced guest service and team member engagement.

“During this exciting time, it is our primary focus to place attention on the projects at hand, while continuing to deliver the same level of excellent customer service that our guests have come to expect at Live! Casino & Hotel,” said Rob Norton, President of Cordish Gaming Group. “These appointments not only strengthen our corporate gaming division, but also position us to enhance the results of our existing operations, while pursuing development in other gaming jurisdictions.”

 

Source: The Cordish Companies

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Gambling in the USA

MGM Ends the Talks to Buy Encore Boston Harbor Casino Resort

Niji Narayan

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MGM Ends the Talks to Buy Encore Boston Harbor Casino Resort
Photo Source: travelandleisure.com
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

MGM has ended the talks with Wynn Resort to buy the Encore Boston Harbor Casino. The nearly finished property and Wynn Resorts as a whole were roped in a scandal of massive proportions that stemmed from multiple sexual misconduct allegations leveled against the casino operator’s ex-boss and founder Steve Wynn.

MGM said in a statement that they “have noted the anxiety raised by various stakeholders regarding a transaction” and that they think “the best course of action is to discontinue discussions” concerning the opportunity to buy Encore Boston Harbor. The statement further read that the company wishes to have “a positive impact on communities in which we operate.”

Wynn Resorts said in a statement that it has agreed to cease discussions with MGM “after careful consideration.” The company added that it is committed to opening and running the 671-room hotel and casino resort located along the Mystic River in Everett.

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