VICI Properties Completes Acquisition of JACK Cleveland Casino, Thistledown Racino for $843.3M

by Kristin Harlow

CLEVELAND AND NORTH RANDALL, OHIO — VICI Properties Inc. (NYSE: VICI) has completed the acquisition of JACK Cleveland Casino and JACK Thistledown Racino for approximately $843.3 million. The company financed the transaction with cash on hand.

JACK Cleveland Casino opened in May 2012 in the historic Higbee Building in downtown Cleveland. The property features approximately 96,000 square feet of gaming space, 1,300 gaming machines, 120 table games and eight food and beverage outlets. The casino is connected to both the 205-room Ritz-Carlton hotel and the 440-room Renaissance hotel.

JACK Thistledown Racino is located in North Randall, about 10 miles southeast of Cleveland. The racino — a combination of a horse racing track and a casino — opened in April 2013. Situated on 129 acres, it features the race track, approximately 57,000 square feet of gaming space, 1,459 gaming machines and six food and beverage outlets. The venue hosts the Ohio Derby horse racing event every summer.

The transaction increases VICI’s “exposure to the limited license state of Ohio, which continues to be one of the healthiest gaming markets across the country,” according to John Payne, president and COO of VICI.

Simultaneous with the closing of the transaction, VICI entered into a master triple-net-lease agreement with subsidiaries of JACK Entertainment to manage the assets. The lease has an initial annual rent of $65.9 million and an initial term of 15 years. Rock Ohio Ventures LLC will guarantee the tenant’s obligations under the lease. VICI also closed on a $50 million loan to a subsidiary of JACK Entertainment as part of the transaction.

The deal was first announced in late October. At the time, JACK Entertainment CEO Mark Dunkeson said the company would remain committed to the Cleveland area. “We have invested more than $700 million into JACK Cleveland Casino and JACK Thistledown Racino since the properties opened in 2012, and we will continue to invest significant capital into these properties.” JACK sister companies own the Cleveland Cavaliers, as well as the Avenue Shops at Tower City and the May Co. Building in Cleveland.

New York-based VICI is a real estate investment trust that owns one of the largest portfolios of gaming, hospitality and entertainment destinations nationwide, including Caesars Palace. The company’s portfolio consists of 29 gaming facilities comprising more than 40 million square feet, as well as 15,500 hotel rooms and 150 bars and restaurants. VICI’s stock price closed at $26.66 per share on Friday, Jan. 24, up from $21.46 per share one year ago.

JACK Entertainment owns approximately 150,000 square feet of gaming space, as well as 16 bars and restaurants. The Cleveland-based gaming company generates more than $400 million in annual revenues.

— Kristin Hiller

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