Bally’s Acquisition Spree Continues With Purchase Of Tropicana Las Vegas

Written By Marc Meltzer on April 13, 2021

This morning Bally’s Corporation announced that it has agreed to purchase the Tropicana Las Vegas casino from Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. (GLPI). This was part of a multi-property deal that includes casinos outside of Nevada. Bally’s estimates the entire transaction to be valued at approximately $308 million.

The property won’t flip names anytime soon as the deal is expected to close in early 2022. President and Chief Executive Officer of Bally’s George Papanier said:

“Landing a preeminent spot on the Las Vegas Strip is a key step for us. The Strip is visited by over 40 million players and guests per year, which we believe will significantly enhance Bally’s customer base and player database, as well as unlock marketing opportunities to leverage the iconic Bally’s brand.”

This deal marks the second property in Nevada for Bally’s (formerly Twin Rivers). Earlier this month, Bally’s closed a deal with Caesars to buy MontBleu Resort & Casino in Lake Tahoe.

Nevada sports bettors should expect to see a new sportsbook operator sometime in early 2021.

What’s in the Tropicana deal?

Similar to the sale of The Venetian earlier this year, this isn’t a straightforward deal for all of Tropicana’s assets and land. The purchase price for the Tropicana property’s non-land assets is $150 million. GLPI will still own the land underneath the casino.

Bally’s has a 50-year lease to pay rent on the property. The annual rent for the new Bally’s will be $10.5 million when the deal closes next year. GLPI has the right to adjust the rent on the property throughout the term of the release if necessary.

The two companies tied this deal into agreements for other properties outside of Las Vegas. The two companies will also enter into a sale-and-leaseback transaction for Bally’s Black Hawk, CO, and its Rock Island, IL property. These deals are also expected to close in early 2022.

New Bally’s Corporation going all-in on M&A

Name aside, Bally’s Corporation has nothing to do with the Las Vegas casino. When Caesars sold Bally’s in Atlantic City to Twin River Worldwide, the company also sold Bally’s brand name to Twin River for an additional $25 million.

Bally’s Corporation has been rapidly expanding since Twin River was rebranded. The gaming company also sees itself as an “interactive entertainment” company. Bally’s continues to expand both its retail casino and online gaming operations. Simultaneously, it’s also diving headfirst into sports betting.

The company is even branding itself outside of traditional gambling platforms. Last year the company struck a deal with Sinclair to rebrand its regional sports networks to Bally’s Sports.

This sports network deal piggybacks on acquisitions of two different sports gambling operations.  Last year Bally’s made to buy sportsbook operator Bet.Works. It also owns the fantasy sports platform Monkey Knife Fight.

All of these sports deals will collide as Bally’s also has a deal with Sinclair to offer sports betting programming on the sports and other networks.

While the sports betting deals are big for Bally’s, the company still has roots in land-based casinos. Papanier also said:

“This expansion will also support the growth and development of our online and interactive business. We look forward to exploring a significant redevelopment of the property, which we believe will enhance its financial profile.”

Bally’s Corporation is creating one of the most interesting land-based and online casino operations in the US today.

Future of Bally’s Las Vegas

As previously mentioned, Bally’s Corporation does not own Bally’s Las Vegas. Caesars still owns Bally’s Las Vegas, even though a sale of the property has been in the rumor mill for a while. During Caesars’ fourth-quarter earnings call earlier this year, CEO Tom Reeg said “We do still anticipate selling an asset in the future.”

Caesars says it won’t sell Bally’s or another Las Vegas casino until sometime next year at the earliest. Now that Bally’s Corp. will enter the Las Vegas market next year, it seems like Caesars will have to do something about the name of its property next door to Paris Las Vegas.

Not all rumors come to fruition in Las Vegas but this article about Bally’s Las Vegas rebranding as Horseshoe Las Vegas might have some legs to it. Bally’s Corp. would still have to purchase the rights to Bally’s Las Vegas from Caesars. The company still owns the individual mark and still owns the Horseshoe brand that was the original home of the World Series of Poker (WSOP).

The WSOP is tentatively scheduled to take place at the Rio later this year. Caesars sold Rio in 2019 and currently rents the casino and hotel. The current landowner has plans to spruce up and add an additional hotel brand to the property.

It’s possible everything will coincide perfectly so that the WSOP returns to a new Horseshoe Las Vegas. This would bring the poker event back to a casino with the same branding it used to have with Binion’s Horseshoe.

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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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