Catskill Mountain Resorts and 72 holes of Golf;
Consolidation of the Two Properties Provides Strategic Locations
For Future Gaming and Resort Development
of Native American Casinos, Hotels, and Monster, International,
Challenger and Grossinger's Golf Courses
MONTICELLO, N.Y. -- Nov. 15, 2004 -- Empire Resorts, Inc. ("Empire"; NASDAQ: NYNY) has filed an 8-K with the Securities & Exchange Commission reporting that, on November 12, 2004, with the unanimous approval of its Board of Directors, Empire entered into a binding agreement with Concord Associates LP and an affiliate for acquisition by Empire of the Concord and Grossinger's Resort Hotels and Golf Courses, two of the Catskill Mountains' historically renowned and strategically located resort properties. The acquisition includes casino and hotel development sites, and 72 holes of golf, including the Monster, International, Challenger and Grossinger's Golf Courses. Concord Associates LP is a joint venture owned 46% by Reckson Strategic Venture Partners, a real estate venture capital fund originally formed by Reckson Associates Realty Corp.("Reckson"; NYSE:RA), which was spun-off to Reckson shareholders as part of Frontline Capital Group in 1998.
As consideration for the acquisition, Empire will issue 18 million common shares to Concord Associates LP, representing approximately 40% of the total number of issued and outstanding common shares of Empire after the closing, on a fully diluted basis and the assumption of related debt. The closing is subject to certain approvals, including a vote in favor of the transaction by a majority of Empire's shareholders, and regulatory approval of at least one land to trust transfer for a gaming facility at any of the casino development sites owned by Empire or Concord Associates LP.
Commenting on the agreement, Empire CEO Robert Berman said, "We are extremely pleased to be part of a new economic engine that will spark growth in Sullivan County. This consolidation represents the beginning of a new partnership to develop a number of Native American casinos and destination resorts, and we look forward to becoming a significant force in the resurgence of the Catskills Region, by creating thousands of new hotel rooms and jobs for the local tourism industry."
David Matheson, Chairman of Empire, added, "We view the strategic consolidation of the Concord and Grossinger's properties with Empire's Monticello Raceway as a unique opportunity to merge into one publicly traded entity the most strategic locations available for future development of Native American gaming in New York State. The synergy inherent in this acquisition should significantly add to shareholder value in the near and long term, and enhance the opportunity of the company to expand its Native American gaming development and management business in the future."
Empire presently has individual agreements in force with two different tribes -- Cayuga Nation of New York, and Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma -- for development and management by Empire of two, separate Native American gaming facilities in the Catskill Mountains. The agreements terminate in December 2004 and August 2005, respectively.
Empire has previously announced plans to develop a $500 million "Class III" Native American casino and resort on a site adjacent to the Monticello Raceway with another Native American Tribe, the Cayuga Nation of New York. With the Concord and Grossinger's acquisitions, Empire will be able to pursue its two casino development opportunities simultaneously.
On November 12, 2004, the State of New York and Seneca-Cayuga Tribe announced execution of a settlement agreement relating to the Tribe's land claims and development of a Native American casino to be located in the Town of Thompson, Sullivan County, 90 minutes by car from New York City. The agreement provides that the State and Tribe shall enter into a mutually satisfactory Class III gaming compact to operate a casino in the Catskills, subject to approval of the Secretary of Interior. Empire has urged the State and the Cayuga Nation of New York to pursue a similar settlement agreement prior to December 31, 2004, on which date Empire's agreements with the Cayuga Nation terminate.
Empire operates the Monticello Raceway and is involved in the development of other legal gaming venues in New York. Empire opened Mighty M Gaming at the Raceway site on June 30, 2004. The new facility features 1,743 video gaming machines and amenities such as a 350-seat buffet and live nightly entertainment.
About Empire Resorts, Inc.
Statements in this press release regarding the company's business that are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties, including the need for regulatory approvals, financing and successful completion of construction.
Empire Resorts, Inc.
|Also See:||Louis Cappelli, Who Bought th Bankrupt Concord Resort Hotel for $10.25 million in 1999, Hopes to Land an Indian Casino / November 2004|
|Cayuga Nation's $500-million Catskill Casino Holds Great Economic Promise / June 2004|
|Wide-ranging Redevelopment Plans of the Famed Concord Hotel Property in the Catskill Mountains Taking New Course / December 2003|
|Oneida Indian Nationís Turning Stone Resort and Casino Opens 98-suite hotel, The Lodge / April 2004|