Casino real estate investment trust VICI Properties has announced it is partnering with land-based operator Century Casinos in its project to open a new property in Missouri. As part of the agreement, VICI will utilize its Partner Property Growth Fund to provide capital for the project, which will see a new facility replace the existing Century Casino in Caruthersville.
Century Casino Caruthersville is the last remaining riverboat casino on open water in the state. It is set to be replaced with a new casino, plus an adjacent 38-room hotel tower. Pursuant to an amendment to the existing master lease between the parties, VICI will own the real estate improvements associated with the projects, expected to cost approximately $51.9 million.
Annual rent under the master lease with Century will increase by approximately $4.2 million following the completion of the projects, the parties announced. The new land-based casino will feature a hotel lobby, restaurant, bar, lounge, multi-purpose meeting rooms, as well as offices. Century Casinos broke ground on the project last Friday.
The gaming space will initially offer 650 slot machines (an increase of 25% over the current number of slot machines), table games, a deli, and a bar. It will also have the possibility of an expansion for up to an additional 140 slot machines.
The 38-room hotel, which sits between the existing pavilion and the new casino, will provide “stunning views over the Mississippi River and Caruthersville.” The Missouri Gaming Commission granted preliminary approval for the casino project at its meeting in December 2021. Additional state and local approvals will be required, including final regulatory approval from the MGC once the new casino construction project is completed.
John Payne, President and Chief Operating Officer of VICI Properties, said, “We are very excited to continue to grow our partnership with Century by funding this expansion project through our 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.”
“Our team, led by Danny Valoy and Elena Keil, 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,” added Payne.
This isn’t the only VICI-Century Casinos partnership announced this year. Back in August, VICI agreed to acquire Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Maryland from Golden Entertainment, with Century Casinos to purchase the venue’s operations. The aggregate price of the deal is $260 million, with Vici to pay $203.9 million to acquire an interest in the land and buildings associated, and Century the operating assets of the property for approximately $56.1 million.