Casino operator Bally's (NYSE:BALY) opened up its pocketbook today and announced it was going on a shopping spree, buying the iconic Tropicana Las Vegas casino and hotel from Gaming & Leisure Properties (NASDAQ:GLPI) for $308 million and separately combining with online gaming operator Gamesys in a $2.7 billion deal.
The purpose of the two transactions is to increase Bally's expansion into the rapidly growing online and interactive gaming markets.
With its purchase of the Tropicana, Bally's gets a preeminent spot on the Las Vegas Strip. Gaming & Leisure Properties, a real estate investment trust, acquired the iconic casino and hotel a year ago from Penn National Gaming in exchange for rent credits of $307.5 million at a time when the pandemic was ravaging the casino industry.
Under the agreement, if the REIT sold the property within a year, Penn would receive 75% of the amount above the credits. As the deal was completed on April 20 of last year, Gaming & Leisure sold the property just under the wire. Yet since the purchase price is also almost what the rent credits were, it doesn't appear Penn National will receive much if anything on the sale.
Bally's will also be leasing the real estate back to Gaming & Leisure for 50 years, while also engaging in a sale-and-leaseback arrangement for its Black Hawk, Colorado, and Rock Island, Illinois, casinos for $150 million.
The Gamesys deal was originally announced back in March and will give Bally's access to the gaming company's online casino and bingo games. It also could provide entry into the sports betting market.
Bally's is giving Gamesys investors cash, but will allow them to elect to receive some or all of the price as Bally stock.