A leading regional casino operator is planning a handful of new projects.
PENN Entertainment, formerly known as Penn National Gaming, announced that it intends to relocate its riverboat casinos in Aurora and Joliet, Illinois to new land-based facilities and to build a new hotel at Hollywood Columbus in Ohio and a second hotel tower at the M Resort in Henderson, Nevada.
“We are delighted to announce these exciting new growth projects, which we expect will generate strong free cash flow returns and create long-term value for our shareholders,” said Jay Snowden, Chief Executive Officer and President of PENN Entertainment. “Our casino properties remain at the core of our omni-channel approach to entertainment, which combines best-in-class retail operations and a database of more than 26 million myChoice members with a rapidly growing interactive and media footprint.”
He continued: “Since the change in law to permit land-side casino relocation in Illinois, we have been exploring the viability of relocating our aging riverboats in Aurora and Joliet. Thanks to the support of our local community leaders, in particular the visionary leadership of Mayor Richard Irvin and his staff in Aurora, we are very excited to be moving forward with these projects.”
The total costs of the four projects is a combined $850 million.
“The overall estimated budget for these new growth projects is approximately $850 million,” Snowden said. “With the ability to access attractive financing from [Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc.] covering up to $575 million of the anticipated costs, along with up to $50 million from the City of Aurora, subject to final approvals, we have the opportunity to pursue these high growth projects while preserving our cash position and leverage profile.”
PENN intends to develop a new land-based casino and hotel adjacent to the Chicago Premium Outlets mall, near Exit 119 off I-88 in Aurora, which would replace the current Hollywood Casino Aurora riverboat property. The development, with an estimated budget of $360 million, is expected to include a modern casino and hotel with approximately 900 slots and 50 live table games (including a baccarat room and a poker room), a Barstool Sportsbook, and approximately 200 hotel rooms. Construction of the new property is expected to begin in late 2023.
PENN intends to develop a new land-based casino as part of the Rock Run Crossings development project in Joliet, which is adjacent to the I-80 and I-55 interchange and several miles from the current Hollywood Casino Joliet riverboat property which it would replace. The project, with an estimated budget of $185 million, is expected to include a modern casino with approximately 800 slots and 45 live table games (including a baccarat room), a Barstool Sportsbook, and approximately 10,000 square feet of meeting areas and an event center. Construction of the new property is expected to begin in late 2023.
Hollywood Columbus Hotel Project
PENN is planning to construct a new hotel at Hollywood Columbus. The project, with an estimated budget of approximately $100 million, is expected to include 180 rooms and new food and beverage offerings. The hotel will be attached to the existing property and will add approximately 100 permanent new jobs, along with hundreds of temporary construction jobs. Construction of the new property is expected to begin in late 2023.
M Resort Hotel Tower Project
PENN is planning the addition of a second hotel tower at M Resort in Henderson, Nevada. This project, with an estimated budget of $206 million, would add approximately 384 rooms to the Company’s property south of the Las Vegas Strip bringing its total to 774 rooms and suites. Along with the rooms, there will be expanded meeting space, updated amenities and additional local partnerships that will be announced at a later date.