GLPI Completes Acquisition of Live! Maryland Casino

Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland Logo and Property Images

Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. announced the completion of its purchase of the Live! Casino Maryland from The Cordish Companies for $1.14 billion.

The deal doesn’t just involve the land and real estate assets of Live! Casino Maryland but also a partnership for future casino development projects with The Cordish Companies and potential financing partnerships between the two companies.

In a statement GLPI chairman and CEO Peter Carlino said:

“We are delighted to add Live! Maryland to our portfolio, further diversify our roster of leading operators, and gain additional access to the rapidly growing Baltimore-Washington corridor via a truly world-class property. The Cordish Companies is world renowned for creating large-scale experiential real estate projects, casinos, hospitality and entertainment districts and we believe their Live! brand and their Live! Maryland together exemplify their track record of development and operating success.”

Single Asset Triple Net Lease

According to GLPI, the transaction was funded with the assumption of the existing $363 million debt of The Cordish Companies, the issuance of 4.35 million units of operating partnership units worth $200 million, and from cash generated via the company’s recent issuance of senior unsecured notes and common stock.

Aside from the purchase of Live! Maryland’s real estate assets, GLPI also entered into a ‘single asset triple net lease’ with The Cordish Companies that would ensure the uninterrupted ownership, control, and operations management of the Maryland gaming property.

The lease has a current annual value of $75 million and an initial term of 39 years and a maximum term of 60 years, inclusive of tenant renewal options and a fixed annual lease escalation of 1.75% which starts on the third year of the lease.

GLPI Also Poised to Acquire Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia and Live! Pittsburgh

Live! Maryland is located on a 36.4 acre land adjacent to the Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover. The casino has a total of 4,000 slot machines and electronic casino games plus 200 live table games including a poker room with 52 tables.

The property also has a retail sportsbook, a parking area for more than 7,000 vehicles in a six-storey parking garage, a 310-room hotel, state-of-the-art live entertainment venue, and restaurants like Bobby’s Burger Palace, The Cheesecake Factory, and The Prime Rib.

After completing the purchase of Live! Maryland, GLPI said that it is on track to complete the previously announced acquisition of the real estate assets of two more casino properties owned by The Cordish Companies: Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia and Live! Casino Pittsburgh. The transactions are expected to be completed early this year, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing.

Maryland In-Person Sports Betting Launch Delayed Once Again

Baltimore Maryland
The launch of legal Maryland sports betting has been delayed once again.

After it was believed that officials would approve the sports betting licenses of three casinos who have sufficiently complied with the requirements laid out by the governing bodies, the event at which those licenses were to be given a go signal did not push through on Wednesday.

SWARC Meeting Canceled

Three Maryland casinos – Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, Live!Casino and Hotel in Hanover and the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill have already met the qualifications for a sports wagering license in the state. However, the Wednesday meeting by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, where the three licenses were supposed to be approved, was cancelled and the SWARC has not announced a new meeting date.

Last August, the SWARC voted unanimously that the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission’s qualification standards were enough to award sports betting licenses to the 17 entities designated in the Maryland sports betting bill. The three aforementioned casinos were the first to comply with the requirements.

Maryland Sports Betting Bill Signed to a Law Last May

It has been five months since Gov. Larry Hogan signed the Maryland Sports Betting bill into a law. And it is obvious that the Governor is upset with the delay. In a Tweet, Hogan urged Maryland residents to pressure the SWARC and allow football betting season to commence as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission director John Martin recently told the Saturday Tradition that he hopes that the state can begin in-person sports betting by “ late fall”. However, he added that all casinos must first be licensed before opening their sportsbooks to the public. Obviously, that timetable is slowly ticking away.

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore Announces Plan to Build Retail Caesars Sportsbook Inside it Property

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore announced on Wednesday its plans to put up a retail sportsbook inside its property.

Aside from the sportsbook, Horseshoe will be adding new dining options, a new pub concept, and an entertainment venue to transform itself in preparation for the launch of legal sports betting in the state.

The sports betting area is expected to help casino revenues which have lagged since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. The casino has seen a year-over-year decline in revenue from January to June before finally seeing some positive numbers in July and August. However, the latest figures are still 1.6% lower than the pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

The Brew Brothers Concept

A new feature of the sports betting area is a dining concept known as The Brew Brothers. This initiative is based on a a concept with the same name at the Eldorado Resort Casino in Reno and will offer local beer, hand-crafted cocktails, and a wide-range menu. The area will have a capacity of 250 people inside and on its outdoor patio and will also have a pair of “fan caves” that can host private parties.

It food menu includes custom burgers, wings, ribs, specialty pizzas, tacos, salads, pasta dishes and desserts. The Horseshoe Casino has formed a partnership with four local breweries-DuClaw Brewing Co., Union Craft Brewing, Checkerspot Brewing Corp, and Diamondback Brewing Co. with the goal of coming up with 24 local draft beer options.

Entertainment District at Warner Street

The Maryland casino is also negotiating with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, which recently partnered with Caesars Entertainment, and other groups for the establishment of an entertainment district located at Warner Street. The said location is being groomed to have attractions like like Topgolf and a Paramount Concert venue.

Horseshoe isn’t alone in the state with its sports betting expansion. Last April, Live Casino in Hanover opened a $15M sports and social lounge at the heart of the casino. The expansion featured retail sportsbooks which are ready to launch on Live Casino gets the approval to offer such services.

Maryland Casino Gaming Revenue Decreases in November

Closeup of Person Counting Money With a Casino Background
Maryland’s casinos saw a large revenue drop in the month of November. The decrease comes after the casinos had been making good gains following a statewide shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a report by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming, the six Maryland casinos generated a gross gaming revenue (GGR) of $130.3M, an amount which is 8.6% lower than the previous month total of $142.7M. The amount is also $10.4M or 7.4% less than the aggregate revenue posted by the Maryland casinos in November 2019.

Maryland Casino Breakdown

$83.43M of the GGR was derived from Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) while table games contributed $146.94M to the total revenue. Live! Casino and Hotel led the way with a VLT total of nearly $30.9M, beating out the $29.8M of MGM National Harbor. As far as table games are concerned, MGM National Harbor was way above the rest with its $25.5M table games intake.

MGM National Harbor remained the top earning casino during the month of November as it raked in a total of $55.3M or 42.4% of the state’s total GGR. Live!Casino and Hotels came in second with its haul of $45M while Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore was a far third with a monthly revenue of $15.25M. Horseshoe Casino though operated at a lower capacity for the most part of November due to new restrictions enforced in Baltimore.

Horseshoe Heavily Affected

After being allowed to open at 50% capacity for two months, the city of Baltimore tightened the restriction to 25% capacity for restaurants, gyms, retailers, and casinos beginning November 12th due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Being the only Maryland casino in Baltimore, Horseshoe was badly hit by Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young’s decision.

Horseshoe’s November 2020 GGR is an all-time monthly low for the Caesars Entertainment owned Maryland casino. It’s the latest setback for Horseshoe which has struggled since Caesars won the Baltimore license in 2012. The company has been trying to reverse the Baltimore casino’s fortunes in recent years but to no avail.