El­gin casino to change hands in $327.5M deal

El­do­rado Re­sorts says it will buy Grand Vic­to­ria from MGM, Pritzker part­ner­ship

Chicago Tribune - - BUSINESS - By Co­ri­lyn Shrop­shire cr­shrop­shire@chicagotri­bune.com Twit­ter @co­ri­lyns

El­gin’s Grand Vic­to­ria Casino is set to change hands later this year, and the prospec­tive new owner is eye­ing land near the casino for fu­ture de­vel­op­ment.

Reno, Nev.-based El­do­rado Re­sorts said it en­tered into a de­fin­i­tive agree­ment to pay $327.5 mil­lion for the casino now owned by equal part­ners MGM Re­sorts In­ter­na­tional and RBG, a Pritzker fam­ily lim­ited part­ner­ship.

Buy­ing the Grand Vic­to­ria fur­thers El­do­rado’s ef­forts to grow by ac­qui­si­tion and gain a foothold in the Chicago-area mar­ket. It also in­cludes con­tigu­ous acreage that could be de­vel­oped, the com­pany said.

“Grand Vic­to­ria is one of the lead­ing casi­nos in the Chicagoland mar­ket and is ex­tremely well-main­tained, which will al­low us, upon clos­ing, to fo­cus on en­hanc­ing the guest ex­pe­ri­ence and op­er­at­ing re­sults with­out the need to un­der­take cap­i­tal in­vest­ments,” Gary Carano, chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fice of El­do­rado, said on a con­fer­ence call Mon­day.

El­do­rado also an­nounced plans Mon­day to team up with Gam­ing and Leisure and ac­quire Trop­i­cana En­ter­tain­ment for $1.85 bil­lion. Gam­ing and Leisure will pay roughly $1.21 bil­lion and El­do­rado will pay $64 mil­lion. El­do­rado will man­age the prop­er­ties. Trop­i­cana owns seven casi­nos in six states, in­clud­ing two in Ne­vada — the Trop­i­cana Laugh­lin Ho­tel and Casino and the Mon­tBleu Re­sort Casino & Spa in South Lake Ta­hoe — as well as prop­er­ties in In­di­ana, Louisiana, Mis­sis­sippi, Mis­souri and New Jer­sey.

El­do­rado cur­rently owns sev­eral casino prop­er­ties in states in­clud­ing Mis­souri, Penn­syl­va­nia, Ohio, Ne­vada and Louisiana. “Fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of these trans­ac­tions, El­do­rado has grown from a com­pany that just four years ago was com­prised of two wholly owned prop­er­ties and a 50 per­cent joint own­er­ship in­ter­est … (in) a third prop­erty in just two states to a com­pany now that owns 26 gam­ing prop­er­ties in 13 states,” Carano said on the con­fer­ence call.

The Grand Vic­to­ria, which re­ceived its li­cense in 1994, had gross re­ceipts of $168.7 mil­lion last year, up 3.4 per­cent from 2016, ac­cord­ing to the Illi­nois Gam­ing Board. Tax rev­enue from the casino brought in $45 mil­lion to the state’s cof­fers, up 4.6 per­cent from 2016.

MGM said it ac­quired its 50 per­cent in­ter­est in the Grand Vic­to­ria in 2005, when it bought Man­dalay Re­sort Group, for­merly named Cir­cus Cir­cus En­ter­prises. Grand Vic­to­ria was orig­i­nally a joint ven­ture be­tween Cir­cus Cir­cus En­ter­prises and Hy­att Gam­ing.

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