Genting Allocating Another $100M to New York Casino Unit

Posted on: January 11, 2024, 05:28h. 

Last updated on: January 12, 2024, 11:37h.

Genting Malaysia is again devoting capital to its struggling Empire Resorts unit, this time pledging $100 million to the New York casino operator.

Empire Resorts
A rendering of Resorts World Casino in Hudson Valley, N.Y. Genting Malaysia is allocating another $100 million to operator Empire Resorts. (Image: Hudson Valley Happenings)

In a new regulatory filing, Genting Malaysia told investors that the $100 million flowing to Empire Resorts will come by way of the parent company purchasing that amount in preferred stock. The preferred shares can be converted into common equity in Empire Resorts after Dec. 31, 2030. Empire Resorts will use $58 million of the proceeds to pay off an existing bank loan and the remainder for general corporate purposes.

News of the investment arrived 13 months after Genting Malaysia purchased $100 million in preferred shares from the New York casino entity. With the most recent capital outlay to Empire, the parent company has invested nearly $725 million in the loss-generating unit.

Preferred stocks are considered hybrid securities, because the shares have both equity and fixed-income traits. This type of stock typically pays high dividends, making the asset class vulnerable to rising interest rates. However, preferreds are alluring to investors, because companies must prioritize payment of those dividends.

Rough History for Empire Resorts

Previously, Empire Resorts was a publicly traded company, and an ailing one at that. It flirted with bankruptcy protection in 2019 before being taken private by Kien Huat Realty III and Genting. Those entities own 51% and 49%, respectively, of the New York gaming entity.

The company runs Resorts World Catskills, Monticello Raceway, sports betting operations in New York, and Resorts World Hudson Valley. Empire Resorts doesn’t control the Resorts World slots-only venue in Queens, which is competing to land one of three downstate casino permits in New York.

Some analysts believe the latest move to shore up Empire Resorts could be an attempt by Genting Malaysia to garner favor among New York regulators. The Resorts World location in Queens is rumored to be one of the leading contenders to win one of the three licenses for a New York City-area casino hotel.

“In addition, this will allow quicker ramp-up for Resorts World Hudson Valley, and enable Empire to continue its focus on strengthening Resorts World Catskills’ operating performance to realize its full potential,” according to a regulatory filing from the Malaysian parent.

Genting Has New York State of Mind

It could be the second half of this year or later before New York regulators reveal the winners of the trio of downstate licenses. But Genting Malaysia is showing commitment to its operations in the fourth-largest state.

Additionally, some analysts believe the company is at or close to the end of its financial support of Empire Resorts.

“The proposed equity injection will also allow Genting Malaysia to reinforce its position and grow its market presence in the expanding New York State gaming market to compete effectively in the north-eastern U.S. region. Resorts World Catskills will also be able to continue benefiting from the operating synergies with Resorts World New York City,” the operator added in the filing.