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 move its riverboat casinos in Aurora and Joliet, Illinois to new land-based facilities, and a new hotel in Hollywood Columbus, Ohio, and a second hotel tower at the M Resort build in Henderson, Nevada.
“We are pleased 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 entertainment approach, which combines world-class retail locations and a database of more than 26 million myChoice members with a rapidly growing interactive and media presence.”
He continued, “Since the law change allowing the relocation of Illinois land-based casinos, we have been exploring the possibility of relocating our aging riverboats in Aurora and Joliet. With the support of our local community leaders, particularly the visionary leadership of Mayor Richard Irvin and his staff in Aurora, we are excited to move these projects forward.”
The total cost of the four projects is US$850 million.
“The total estimated budget for these new growth projects is approximately $850 million,” Snowden said. “With the possibility of accessing attractive financing [Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc.] With the assumption of up to $575 million of anticipated costs, as well as up to $50 million from the City of Aurora, subject to final approvals, we have the opportunity to continue these high-growth projects while maintaining our liquidity and leverage profile to obtain.”
PENN intends to develop a new land-based casino and hotel adjacent to the Chicago Premium Outlets mall near exit 119 of I-88 in Aurora that would replace the current Hollywood Casino Aurora riverboat property. The development, with an estimated budget of US$360 million, is expected to include a modern casino and hotel with approximately 900 slot machines 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 scheduled to begin at the end of 2023.
PENN intends to develop a new land-based casino as part of the Rock Run Crossings development project in Joliet, adjacent to the I-80 and I-55 freeway intersection and several miles from the current Hollywood Casino Joliet riverboat property it would replace. The project, with an estimated budget of $185 million, is expected to include a modern casino with approximately 800 slot machines and 45 live table games (including a baccarat room), a bar stool for sports betting, and approximately 10,000 square feet of meeting space and an events center. Construction of the new property is scheduled to begin at the end of 2023.
Hollywood Columbus hotel project
PENN plans to build a new hotel in 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 create around 100 new permanent jobs as well as hundreds of temporary construction jobs. Construction of the new property is scheduled to begin at the end of 2023.
M Resort Hotel Tower project
PENN plans to add a second hotel tower at the 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, increasing its total of 774 rooms and suites. In addition to the rooms, there will be expanded meeting space, updated amenities and additional local partnerships to be announced at a later date.