Time To Send Out An SOS On The SLS Casino Sale?

Written By Jessica Welman on November 29, 2017
message in a bottle on the beach

[toc]Remember how back in the summer it looked like the struggling Nevada casino SLS had a new lease on life?

Turns out the terms of that lease were still up for debate. As a result, the sale of the former Sahara might be a no-go after all.

Sales talk for the casino slowed last month

The first sign of trouble came last month. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, talks on the particulars of the sale were taking longer than expected.

Reno casino company The Meruelo Group announced the purchase of SLS in May. At the time, the announcement came without a purchase price for the deal. The thought was the deal would be done and settled by the end of the third quarter.

Needless to say, that did not happen. At the time, Meruelo’s Andrew Diss explained to the LVRJ that the deal simply had a few small details to iron out. The publication speculated the details might involve a payout structure for the casino’s debtholders.

“The financing is all worked out at this point. We are just waiting for the Gaming Control Board approval,” he explained.

The new timeline aimed for a transfer of the property early in 2018.

Vital Vegas whispers SLS deal could be off completely

Reporting group Vital Vegas added fuel to the fire today. The outlet, which specializes in Vegas-based business rumors, Tweeted speculation the SLS deal was off entirely.

No other outlet substantiated the rumor as of yet. However, it is worth noting Vital Vegas is the site that broke the news of the deal in the first place.

If that does turn out to be the case, the SLS could be in financial trouble.

SLS developers spent $400 million purchasing Sahara Casino, then spent another $415 million in renovations.

The last time the property released financial details publicly was September of 2015. At the time, the company had $584 million in long-term debt. Moreover, it had yet to operate at a profit.

At the beginning of the year, the casino brought in executives from Aliante Casino to try and play up SLS to local players. Those executives did not last long with the company though. Both stepped down in July of this year. They were the third regime to helm SLS since it opened in 2014.

For now, the rumor remains a rumor. However, it does not seem up for debate that SLS continues to struggle. Moreover, with a number of new casino projects descending on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip, the competition for customers is about to get much, much tougher.

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman is a longtime member of the poker media. She has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for WSOP.com. A graduate of the University of Southern California and Indiana University, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She has been involved for livestreams for the WSOP and WPT and worked as a consultant on many other poker productions. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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