Shares of Gaming and Leisure Properties (NASDAQ:GLPI), a casino-focused real estate investment trust (REIT), plunged an incredible 37% in trading during March, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, as investors abandoned REITs in general. Performance has been mixed in the first week of April, but early today, shares were trading up 6.8% for the month.
Most of Gaming and Leisure Properties' casinos closed their doors in mid to late March as the COVID-19 pandemic spread. That could eventually put pressure on resorts financially if rent becomes a big burden for operations.
To alleviate some financial stress, Penn National sold the real estate assets of the Tropicana Las Vegas to Gaming and Leisure Properties for a noncash rent payment of $337.5 million. This effectively covers rent for about five months, saving Penn National significant cash that it may need later in the year.
Casino stocks have had a terrible time on the market over the last few months as operations have shut down in most parts of the world. Eventually, that financial trouble will spill over to REITs. I don't think investors should count on Gaming and Leisure Properties' 9.5% dividend yield to be sustainable this year given the economic backdrop. But long term, this is still a great REIT to own, and buyers should definitely keep it on their watch list.