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Vici partners Century Casinos to build new Missouri casino


Casino real estate investment trust Vici Properties and land-based operator Century Casinos have revealed plans to open a new physical casino property in Missouri.

The new facility will replace the existing Century Casino Caruthersville, the last remaining riverboat casino on open water in the state, while an adjacent 38-room hotel tower will also be built at the site.

The land-based casino will feature a gaming space with an initial 650 slot machines, with the potential to add an additional 160 terminals, as well as table games, a deli and a bar.

Regulatory approval

The Missouri Gaming Commission (MGC) gave preliminary approval for the casino project at a meeting in December 2021, though additional state and local approvals will be required, including final regulatory approval from the MGC, once the casino construction project is completed.

Pursuant to an amendment to the existing master lease between the parties, Vici will own the real estate improvements associated with the project, which is expected to cost approximately $51.9m. Annual rent under the master lease with Century will also increase by approximately $4.2m following completion of the projects.

Vici said it would provide the required capital to the project via its Partner Property Growth Fund.

“Since we jointly acquired three regional assets in 2019, the Century team has significantly enhanced performance at the properties by fine-tuning operations and focusing intently on customer satisfaction,” Vici president and chief operating officer John Payne said.

“Our team has collaborated with Century to structure a transaction that greatly enhances the long-term value of the property in Caruthersville, provides Century with balance sheet flexibility and allows VICI to invest free cash flow, growing our AFFO without the need for external funding.”

VICI-Century ties

The deal will further strengthen ties between Vici and Century. In August, Vici agreed to acquire Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Maryland from Golden Entertainment, while Century Casinos will purchase the venue’s operations.

The aggregate price of the agreement is $260.0m, with Vici to pay $203.9m to acquire an interest in the land and buildings associated with Rocky Gap, and Century the operating assets of the property for approximately $56.1m.

Meanwhile, Vici last week agreed to require the remaining 49.9% interest in the joint venture that owns MGM Grand Las Vegas and Mandalay Bay Resort. Vici currently holds a 50.1% majority interest in the venture and will purchase the 49.9% stake from JV partner Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust (BREIT) for approximately $1.27bn in cash.