Another Atlantic City casino is set to change hands in the coming months.
This morning, Carl Icahn announced that he’s selling off Tropicana Entertainment to a pair of gaming heavyweights.
— Carl Icahn (@Carl_C_Icahn) April 16, 2018
The agreement includes the sale of Tropicana Atlantic City, along with six other properties. Gaming and Leisure Properties will acquire the real estate, while Eldorado Resorts will take control of hotel and gaming operations.
Having purchased the group for $200 million, Icahn is poised to collect a fine return from the $1.85 billion deal. The valuation also highlights a remarkable turnaround for Tropicana, which was mired in bankruptcy proceedings eight years ago.
Icahn Enterprises expects the transaction to close during the second half of 2018.
Meet the buyers
The two buyers have become big movers in the land-based casino industry. And it appears they have online gambling in their sights, too.
GLPI has nearly 40 properties in its portfolio, but it only operates two of them itself. For tax purposes, it is technically a “real estate investment trust.” Most of its casinos and racinos are leased to parent company Penn National, including two in Pennsylvania. Those two properties will provide a gateway into PA online casinos when the industry launches (likely this year).
There’s a new partner lined up for the Tropicana purchase, though. Eldorado will take over operations for these seven properties once the real-estate parties finalize their transaction. The deal does not include Tropicana Aruba, which Icahn will also dispossess as a condition of the sale. It does, however, include the property in NJ, where iGaming thrives.
Eldorado is a publicly-traded gaming company based in Nevada. It currently operates 20 properties across the country, including two of its own in PA. It’s suddenly become a major player in the virtual space, taking positions in three of the four states with legal iGaming.
Under the agreement, the two groups will enter New Jersey as partners, almost certainly planning to explore online casinos and sports betting.