Bet365 unites with Empire Resorts for New York expansion

Bet365 has confirmed a 20-year partnership with Resort World Catskills, to supply land-based and online sportsbook and gaming services to New York’s newest and largest integrated commercial casino resort.

Completing the deal, with the sports wagering agreement, bet365’s US affiliate Hillside 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.

Manny Pearlman, executive chairman of Empire Resorts commented on the new deal: “Joining forces with bet365 positions Empire and our flagship Resorts World Catskills to lead a potentially enormous new market.

“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.”

Simon Betteley, president of Hillside, a bet365 affiliate added: “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.”

Additionally, Kien Huat Realty III, Ltd, who retains his status as Empire’s largest stockholder, has committed to purchase up to $126m 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 deepens Kien Huat’s view of the potential for value creation in Empire’s Resorts World Catskills.

The partnership will allow bet365 to expand into the New York sports betting market, as the venue seeks to utilise the operator’s renowned sportsbook offering to thrive as the market potentially opens up in 2019.

According to market estimates by Eilers & Krejcik Gaming LLC, the New York State sports wagering market is expected to be the single largest market jurisdiction for sports betting in the United States other than California, with projections for more than $1bn in annual revenues from sports betting within five years of legalisation.