While New York lawmakers are still working out regulations for sports betting, Empire said its 20-year deal with bet365 will position the Sullivan County casino as New York’s premier sports betting and online gaming option.
The deal will allow Resorts World Casino to offer retail sports betting, an online sportsbook and online gaming, once it’s permitted by state law. The two companies will split the profits after bet365 recoups startup and other costs, according to the announcement.
The online gambling company will also acquire up to $50 million of Empire Resorts common stock at a price of $20 per share as part of the deal, making it Empire’s second largest stockholder behind Kien Huat Realty III, Ltd., the Malaysian real estate company and international casino resorts developer.
Resorts World Catskills is one of only four commercial casinos in New York authorized by statute to offer retail sports betting, according to Empire, though that is still pending the creation of regulations. bet365, meanwhile, is ranked No. 1 in sportsbook revenues globally with annual revenues of more than $3 billion.
“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. “bet365’s global expertise in effectively developing and executing world-class sportsbooks strongly complements Empire’s leadership in commercial casino operations in New York.”
Both bet365 and Empire expect New York’s sports betting market to reach more than $1 billion in annual revenues within five years of legalization, citing market estimates by Eilers & Krejcik Gaming LLC. The research firm projects New York as the second largest market for sports betting in the United States, behind only California.