[toc]The United States government took a look at possible insider trading involving one of New York State’s four casino licensees, according to a report this week from the New York Post.
Citing an unnamed government source, the Post reported that Securities and Exchange Commission officials became aware of “suspicious” trading of Empire Resorts Inc. in the days leading up to it receiving a license recommendation from the state’s Gaming Facility Location Board on Dec. 17, 2014.
Empire Resorts is eyeing a $1.25 billion casino complex in Sullivan County. It’s the most expensive of the new commercial casinos coming to the Empire State.
It’s also the project closest to New York City.
What happened to the stock
According to the Post report, NASDAQ records show that the volume of traded shares nearly tripled from 31,132 on Dec. 12 to 82,495 on Dec. 16.
The share price rose from $32 to $40 during the four-day period.
Trading volume grew to 443,883 on Dec. 17. The stock price fell below $36 per share.
Almost exactly a year later, the New York State Gaming Commission approved the company for a license.
The report noted that the largest stakeholder in Empire Resorts is K.T. Lim, the chairman of Genting Group. Genting operates the Resorts World slots casino in New York City.
Empire Resorts and state officials said the SEC hasn’t contacted them about any investigation. The SEC declined comment to the Post.
What the casino brings to Sullivan County
Empire Resorts already owns and operates, through its subsidiary Monticello Raceway Management Inc., the Monticello Casino and Raceway.
The racino is about 90 miles from midtown Manhattan.
The Las Vegas-style casino, which is to be called Montreign Resort Casino, was a little more than a quarter finished as of late last month, according to a Commission hearing.
The project is the only one of the four new casinos that hasn’t finalized financing. Commission Executive Director Robert Williams said at the hearing that the casino is likely waiting to see if New Jersey voters allow casinos just outside of New York City.
According to recent polls, Atlantic City will likely retain its casino monopoly in the Garden State.
Montreign Resort Casino will have 2,150 slot machines, 102 table games and 332 hotel rooms.
The casino-hotel is part of the larger Adelaar destination resort. Empire Resorts has called it an “integrated entertainment and lifestyle complex.”
The complex is expected to create more than 5,000 construction and permanent jobs. The casino-hotel portion will create more than 1,000 jobs. The area has one of highest unemployment rates in the state.
The casino is expected to generate $300 million in gross gaming revenue in 2019, according to a state report.