Bally’s Atlantic City has been sold to Twin River Worldwide Holdings for the discount rate of just $25 million, as Caesars Entertainment and Eldorado Resorts continue to reduce their portfolio ahead of their merger.
Twin River, a casino operator based in Rhode Island, also announced it’s acquiring Eldorado Shreveport Resort and Casino in Louisiana, and the MontBleu Resort Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, both from Eldorado. The company is paying an aggregate $155 million for the two properties.
Twin River CEO George Papanier said the purchases fall in line with the company’s objective of expanding and diversifying its portfolio.
The company first expanded its casino holdings from its two Rhode Island locations – Twin River Casino Hotel in Lincoln and Tiverton Casino Hotel – in March of 2019, when it merged with Dover Downs Gaming and Entertainment in Delaware. That decision was in response to three commercial casinos opening in Massachusetts, and the expected impact they would have on the Rhode Island casinos.
Better Than Nothing
Opening in 1979, Bally’s Atlantic City was once the Belle of the Boardwalk. But those days are long gone. The resort today is outdated, and its profitably continues to decline.
In 2019, the casino reported total gross gaming revenue (GGR) of $181.5 million, a 5.4 percent year-over-year drop. Borgata, the top revenue earner in town, had GGR of $797.8 million. Bally’s 2019 performance ranked No. 9 of the city’s nine casinos.
As Casino.org reported back in 2017, Caesars’ bankruptcy likely hampered the company from making necessary improvements to Bally’s to keep the property competitive.
New Jersey gaming regulators have yet to sign off on the Eldorado-Caesars merger. Unloading Bally’s reduces market saturation concerns, but the combined entity will still own and operate Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s, and Tropicana.
There were rumors that Eldorado was considering closing Bally’s to appease state gaming regulators in a worst-case scenario where they wouldn’t allow one company to own four of the nine casinos. At $25 million to Twin River, it’s certainly better than nothing.
Bally’s has 1,214 guestrooms, which were occupied at a rate of 84 percent through nine months in 2019 on a nightly rate of $122.82. The Bally’s casino, along with its Wild Wild West Casino, offer 1,787 slot machines, 122 table games, and 42-table poker room. It also features a sportsbook.
Twin River currently owns and operates seven casinos. Along with its two Rhode Island casinos and Dover Downs property in Delaware, the company’s holdings include Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, and three casinos in Black Hawk, Colorado: Golden Gates, Golden Gulch, and Mardi Gras.
The MontBleu casino features approximately 550 slot machines and 25 table games. The hotel offers 438 guestrooms. Eldorado Shreveport comes with 1,500 slots and 50 tables, as well as a 403-room hotel.
Eldorado had initially agreed to sell the two properties to Maverick Gaming for more than $230 million. It wasn’t disclosed why the privately held Maverick is no longer moving forward with the acquisitions.
Investors reacted positively to the Twin River news, with shares of the company (NYSE:TRWH) up more than 14 percent at noon.
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