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VOL. 132 | NO. 63 | Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Penn National Gaming to Buy 2 Tunica Casinos for $44M

By Patrick Lantrip

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A Pennsylvania-based gaming company is planning to add to its Tunica-area holdings by buying the gaming operations of Bally’s Casino Tunica and Resorts Casino Tunica.

Penn National Gaming Inc. announced Tuesday, March 28, it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire RIH Acquisitions MS I LLC and RIH Acquisitions MS II LLC, the holding companies for the two casinos, for approximately $44 million in cash. The transaction, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017, still has to be approved by the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

Once completed, Penn will operate Bally’s and Resorts Tunica and lease the underlying property associated with the two businesses from Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc.

“The acquisition will add two complementary casinos to our existing Hollywood Casino Tunica operations, thereby presenting Penn National with the opportunity to benefit from a centralized local management structure,” Penn National president and CEO Timothy J. Wilmott said in a statement. He added that Penn intends to make modest capital investments at the newly acquired casinos.

The 40,000-square-foot Bally’s Casino Tunica features 947 slot machines, 16 table games, a steakhouse, buffet, 24-hour cafe and live entertainment venue, according to Penn. The 35,000-square-foot Resorts Casino Tunica, meanwhile, includes 800 slot machines, nine table games, 18,000 square feet of meeting and event space and a 201-room hotel.

The two casinos generated combined pre-tax earnings of $21 million in 2016, according to Penn.

The acquisition comes as Mississippi casinos struggle to draw guests and generate revenue. Mississippi Revenue Department figures reported by The Associated Press show receipts at the 16 Mississippi River casinos dropped more than 10 percent to $77 million in February compared to $86 million a year ago.

Publicly traded Penn National Gaming currently operates 27 facilities in 17 jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada, with approximately 33,000 gaming machines, 800 table games, 4,500 hotel rooms and 10 million square feet of property.

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