Empire Resorts Inc., the Monticello company building the first state-licensed casino in the Catskills, announced the retirement this month of CEO Joseph D’Amato and the appointment of Ryan Eller, Empire Resorts president and chief operating officer, to succeed him in the top post. D’Amato also retired from the Empire board of directors.
Eller, a former Genting Americas Inc. executive, joined Empire Resorts in April to oversee the company’s $1.2 billion resort casino development in Sullivan County, recently renamed Resorts World Catskills, as well as Monticello Casino and Raceway. He will retain the president’s title in his new role.
D’Amato, who retired after a 47-year career in the gaming industry, joined Empire Resorts in 2009 as chief financial officer and was named CEO in January 2010.
Emanuel Pearlman, executive chairman of Empire Resorts, in the announcement lauded D’Amato for having “worked tirelessly to help ensure the company was awarded a gaming facility license to develop and operate a resort casino in the town of Thompson in Sullivan County” and for having “led by example throughout his tenure.”
Pearlman said D’Amato will help in the transition by serving as an Empire consultant for the next year as the company prepares for the expected March 2018 opening of Resorts World Catskills. “While we are sorry to see Joe leave the company as a permanent member of the team, we’re fortunate to have Ryan’s talent and knowledge as he undertakes the CEO responsibilities,” Pearlman said.