Bally's buying Tropicana hotel on Las Vegas Strip for $308M

·3 min read

LAS VEGAS — The Tropicana Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, a Sin City namesake, is being sold to a new entrant among Las Vegas Boulevard resort owners.

Rhode Island-based Bally’s Corp. announced Tuesday it will acquire the iconic Strip property from Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. for about $308 million.

The agreement for the nearly 1,500-room hotel, casino, theatre and convention property also involves a sale-and-leaseback transaction relating to Bally’s Black Hawk, Colorado and Rock Island, Illinois, casino properties, the company said.

“Landing a preeminent spot on the Las Vegas Strip is a key step for us,” George Papanier, Bally’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

Bally's Corp. does not own Bally’s Las Vegas on the Strip. That 2,800-room property at Flamingo Road is owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment Inc.

Papanier noted that Las Vegas draws more than 40 million tourists a year and said owning the Tropicana will boost Bally’s customer and player databases, unlock marketing opportunities and benefit Bally’s online and interactive business.

Bally's also announced a deal to combine with London-based online gaming operator Gamesys Group plc.

Neil Goulden, Gamesys chairman, said in a statement the recommended cash offer, including a Gamesys fiscal 2020 dividend, provides a 41.2% premium to the Gamesys share price at the time of the original proposal from Bally’s. Gamesys shareholders can elect to convert holdings to Bally’s shares.

The Bally’s-Tropicana transaction is expected to close early next year. The company said the price for Tropicana property non-land assets was $150 million, and Bally’s plans to lease the land underlying the Tropicana property from Gaming and Leisure Properties for an initial term of 50 years at $10.5 million in annual rent.

The sale-and-leaseback transaction relating to Bally’s Black Hawk and Rock Island has Gaming and Leisure Properties paying $150 million and an initial annual fixed rent of $12 million.

Bally’s owns and manages 12 casinos in eight states, including Bally's Atlantic City in New Jersey, and said it is set to own and manage 15 casinos in 11 states after several acquisitions are completed.

The Tropicana Atlantic City is owned by Caesars Entertainment.

Bally’s is already licensed as a casino operator in Nevada. It purchased the MontBleu Resort near Lake Tahoe from Caesars earlier this month.

The Tropicana Las Vegas opened in April 1957. It has two towers of 22 and 21 stories on a 35-acre (14-hectare) parcel at a Las Vegas Boulevard intersection with a major thoroughfare named for it. The hotel has been operated in recent years as a DoubleTree by Hilton.

The property was purchased by Penn National Gaming in 2015 for $360 million, and Penn last year sold the land occupied by the Tropicana to its spin-off company, Gaming and Leisure Properties, for $337.5 million in rent credits.

Ken Ritter, The Associated Press