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BIA Confirms Monticello Raceway Deal

21 December 2005

MONTICELLO, New York – (PRESS RELEASE) -- Empire Resorts, Inc. (NASDAQ: NYNY) announced today that on December 19, 2005, the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), issued a letter to New York Governor George Pataki confirming the validity of the April 6, 2000 land to trust "two-part determination" for the Monticello Raceway. In its letter, the Department confirms that its prior determination in April 2000 continues to remain valid and subject to Governor Pataki's concurrence. The letter also clarifies that a decision on the sufficiency of an Environmental Assessment submitted by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe is expected to be made in January 2006. In addition, the BIA will require approximately 60 days from the date Governor Pataki concurs with the two-part determination to conclude all matters necessary to transfer the land into trust for development of a Mohawk gaming facility at the Monticello Raceway.

David P. Hanlon, CEO and president of Empire Resorts stated, "This letter has removed a good deal of uncertainty regarding our project's federal approvals. There was conflicting information in play, but this clarification has erased all doubts. Moreover, the favorable determination is just one of five ever granted for off-reservation gaming since the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988 - a major achievement today, just as it was in 2000."

Mr. Hanlon concluded, "This is exciting news and a rather significant development. In affirming the two-part determination, the BIA has validated our strategy and brought us closer to being the first company to establish a world class casino in the Catskills in conjunction with our partners the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe. This sets both the stage and the timeline for a final conclusion after many years of perseverance. We will continue to work with the BIA and Governor Pataki in this important endeavor and look forward to bringing a casino to the Catskills

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