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US antitrust laws force Penn National chair to step down


Peter Carlino, the long-serving chairman and former chief executive of Penn National Gaming (PNG), is to step down from his role to comply with federal antitrust regulations. 

Carlino has resigned from PNG’s board of directors, effective June 12, and will instead hold a non-voting role as chairman emeritus. He will continue to serve as chairman and chief executive of Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI), a real estate investment trust spun off from PNG in 2013.

GLPI owns the underlying real estate of PNG’s casinos and racetracks.

Following the acquisition of Pinnacle Entertainment, the operator explained, Carlino was no longer eligible to hold the chairman role at both PNG and GLPI, per a 1914 federal law.

Under the terms of Section 8 of the Clayton Antitrust Act, individuals are prohibited from serving as an officer or on the board of competing corporations. Due to the changes in asset composition arising from the acquisition, PNG would effectively be competing directly against GLPI.

This brings to an end Carlino’s tenure in an executive or board role with PNG. He served as its chair since its initial public offering in 1994, and as its chief executive until 2013.

Following his resignation, PNG’s board has been reduced to seven members, with David Handler taking over as chair. Handler has served on the operator’s board since 1994, and is a partner at Centerview Partners, an independent financial advisory and private equity business.

PNG struck a deal to acquire Pinnacle Entertainment for $2.8bn in December 2017, completing the deal in October last year. Following the acquisition, it now owns 40 properties across 18 US states.