Empire Resorts is a company that owns the Monticello Raceway racino in the Catskill Mountains 90 miles (140 km) from New York City. Headquartered in Monticello, New York, Empire Resorts is 88.7% owned by Kien Huat Realty Sdn Bhd of Genting Group.
Empire Resorts is currently developing the five-star Montreign Casino at Adelaar, a $1.5 billion USD 1700 acre resort currently under construction on the site of the former Concord Resort Hotel in New York State’s Catskill Mountains.
Empire Resorts was founded in 2003 through a Consolidation (business) of Alpha Hospitality and Catskill Development LLC, a company that had purchased the Monticello Raceway in 1996. The consolidation was carried out by Robert A. Berman who in the previous year had been offered control as CEO of Alpha Hospitality by Stanley Tollman.
In 2003 Robert A. Berman restructured Alpha Hospitality after principal shareholders from the Bryanston Group (Alpha Hopitality’s controlling shareholder) were indicted by US attorney James Comey in the southern district of New York on tax-related charges. Berman restored financial stability by selling off non-essential gaming assets and merging the company with Catskill Development LLC, which led to the creation of Empire Resorts that same year. During this time Berman also arranged for Empire Resorts to sell common stock through Jefferies Group. This resulted in Empire Resorts receiving over $35 million (USD) in new funding.
In 2003 Empire Resorts became a NASDAQ Global Market company. The company's stock traded under the ticker symbol "NYNY." In 2004 Empire Resorts entered into an agreement to purchase the Concord Resort Hotel from Louis R. Cappelli. The transaction was later modified by Kien Huat Realty, which gave way to the $1.5 billion (USD) resort project currently financed and under construction by Empire Resorts. The project will be located on the site of Adelaar, a resort developed by Entertainment Property Trust (EPR) within the Concord Resort Hotel. The entertainment complex will include an 80,000 sq. ft. casino, multiple hotel properties, waterparks, and a retail village, dining and entertainment areas. The project is expected to be concluded by 2018.
In 2009 Kien Huat Realty invested a further $55 million (USD) in new equity capital, which represented just below 50% of the voting power of the Empire Resorts. Kien Huat constitutes an investment branch of the Genting Group, a large leisure and gambling conglomerate founded by Malaysian entrepreneur Lim Goh Tong. Kien Huat, which had previously financed the startup of Foxwoods Resort Casino and the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel in New York, was fronted by CEO Lim Kok Thay (Lim Goh Tong’s son).
In 2010 the Genting Group won a bid to build a racino similar to what it owned in Monticello at Aqueduct Racetrack in New York City. In December 2015, Empire Resorts received a full gaming license for Montreign Resort Casino in New York. On February 2016, Kien Huat Realty purchased $290m (USD) worth of shares, giving the firm 88.7% ownership of Empire Resorts.
Empire Resorts, Inc. currently owns and manages several subsidiaries in the hospitality and gaming industries. The company owns and operates Monticello Raceway and casino in New York through its subsidiary, Monticello Raceway Management, Inc. The 230-acre (93 ha) property is located approximately 90 miles northwest of New York City. Casino and Raceway includes a gaming and entertainment complex that operate over 1,110 VGMs, with over 40 electronic table game positions (ETGs), over 1,000 video lottery terminal (VLT) slot machines, electronic table games, and one of the largest all-weather harness horse racing tracks in the US.