Century Casino Gets Approval to Buy a West Virginia Casino
Century Casinos (NASDAQ:CNTY) was granted approval from the West Virginia Lottery Commission to seal the previously announced acquisition of the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort in in New Cumberland, W. Va.
Colorado-based Century is buying that venue as part of a deal revealed in June in which the company will purchase three casinos from Eldorado Resorts. In addition to the West Virginia property, Century is getting the the Isle Casino Cape Girardeau and Lady Luck Casino – both in Missouri. The gaming company is paying $107 million for the operating rights for three properties while Vici Properties is paying $278 million for the real estate assets.
The company’s other racetracks are in Canada. The Mountaineer property is nearly seven decades old with the casino having opened in 1994. The gaming area features nearly 1,500 slot machines, 36 table games and poker room.
Entering West Virginia
The Mountaineer purchase is Century’s first move into the Mountain State and lands the operator a venue that is located about an hour away from Pittsburgh. Century also owns and operates the eponymous gaming properties in Central City and Cripple Creek, Colo. as well as several venues in Canada and one in Bath, England.
West Virginia launched video lottery terminal wagering at racetracks in 1995. In 2008, the state’s racinos began offering table games, such as blackjack, craps, and roulette, according to the UNLV Center For Gaming Research.
In addition to the Mountaineer, the state has three other racinos – Charles Town Races and Slots, Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center, and the Tri-State Racetrack and Gaming Center. The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs is a traditional casino resort.
The state’s tax rates on gross gaming revenue (GGR) range from 35 percent to 49 percent, according to UNLV.
Sports betting is also a growing part of the Mountain State’s gaming lexicon with mobile wagering recently launched there. With the purchase of the Mountaineer, Century gets a sportsbook operated by William Hill.
Sealing The Deal
Century expects to finalize both the Missouri and West Virginia deals early next year. The company’s initial lease agreement with Vici for the three properties is for 15 years at $25 million annually with four five-year renewal options.
Century has a market capitalization of just $232 million, making it one of the smallest publicly traded gaming operators in the US. The company is hoping the aforementioned purchases move the needle.
Haitzmann and Hoetzinger previously called the deals “transformational,” noting that the buy from Eldorado “will be a big milestone for Century.”