It was announced Monday that billionaire investor Carl Icahn is selling Tropicana Entertainment for around $1.85b (£1.29B), with Eldorado Resorts absorbing the gaming and hotel operations via a master lease.
Under the agreement, the real estate of Tropicana Entertainment Inc. will go to Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. The agreement does not include the Aruba assets of the Tropicana, which will be disposed of based on a condition of closing.
Icahn Enterprises first bought a stake in Tropicana in 2008 and takes credit for rehabilitating the brand, as the company was reportedly bankrupt and in desperate need of new leadership when Icahn stepped in. On the progress of the brand, Tropicana President and CEO Tony Rodio stated: “I am incredibly proud of what the entire Tropicana team has been able to accomplish over the past eight years, taking Tropicana from bankruptcy to one of the industry’s true success stories.”
Seven casinos for Eldorado
Eldorado Resorts will acquire the operating assets of seven casinos associated with Tropicana Entertainment. Two properties are located in the state of Nevada, the MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa and the Tropicana Laughlin Hotel and Casino. The deal also includes the Tropicana Evansville in Indiana, the Lumiere Place in St. Louise, the Belle of Baton Rouge Casino & Hotel of Louisiana, the Tropicana Casino and Resort of Atlantic City, and the Trop Casino Greenville in Mississippi.
In total, the properties include 265 table games and 7,900 slot machines. Hotel rooms total 5,400, with dining as well as entertainment and retail amenities included. Once the pending transactions are complete, the property portfolio of Eldorado Resorts will include around 26,800 slot machines and video lottery terminals as well as over 800 table games. Hotel rooms will total more than 12,500.
Gary Carano, Eldorado Resorts chairman and CEO, stated: “The acquisition of seven Tropicana Entertainment properties will allow Eldorado to enter two new gaming jurisdictions and deliver additional financial and geographic diversity to our operating base.”
Eldorado has found the properties of Tropicana to be in good shape and does not see the need to invest significant funds in them. The deal is set to close by the second half of 2018.
With the deal, Eldorado will enter the Atlantic City market. The area is about to expand with the opening of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino of Atlantic City as well as the Ocean Resorts Casino. This will increase the number of casino properties in the region to nine. However, Eldorado feels they will be able to successfully operate the Tropicana Atlantic City, despite the addition of two new gaming venues.
Second acquisition deal
The Tropicana deal was not the only acquisition that Eldorado Resorts has been focused on recently. It was also announced this week that the company has entered a definitive agreement to acquire a property in Elgin, Illinois, owned by MGM Resorts International and RBG. Eldorado will pay $327.5m (£229.m) in cash for the Grand Victoria Casino.
The Grand Victoria Casino is located 40 miles from downtown Chicago on the banks of the Fox River. The property includes a poker room, 30 table games, and 1,088 slot games. There are four dining options on site, as well as meeting/banquet space, concert and event facilities, a parking garage and surface parking.
Carano stated: “This transaction represents yet another milestone for Eldorado as we continue to opportunistically expand our regional gaming platform through accretive acquisitions. The addition of Grand Victoria Casino will further diversify the geographic reach of our operations and includes excess contiguous acreage for potential future development.”