Tropicana landlord reports surprising amount of buyer interest

The Tropicana’s landlord says it is garnering plenty of interest for a potential sale of the Las Vegas Strip hotel-casino, though it’s “under no pressure” to make a deal.

The company that owns the 35 acres of land beneath the Tropicana, real estate investment trust Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc., has drawn surprising interest, mostly in the form of “wing-and-a-prayer offers,” company CEO Peter Carlino told investors Wednesday morning.

“There’s a lot of tire kickers, not necessarily a lot of check writers, but we’re surprised by the activity,” Carlino said in a call discussing third-quarter earnings.

GLPI bought the land beneath the Tropicana from Penn National Gaming in April for $307.5 million worth of rent credits and is leasing it back to Penn, which operates the Tropicana. The hotel-casino reopened to the public Sept. 17 following coronavirus-related closures in March.

Carlino said Penn’s commitment to keeping the property open and “covering every expense” alleviates pressure to close a deal. Still, he said, “our focus is to reached a transaction as early as we plausibly can.”

The Tropicana, like many other resorts and gaming companies in the Las Vegas Valley, has furloughed or laid off hundreds of workers since March. Most recently, the property laid off 702 employees Oct. 15 and plans to lay off an additional 132 over a two-week stretch starting Dec. 23, according to a government notice required for mass layoffs.

In contrast with many other gaming-related companies, GLPI reported a higher revenue total in the third quarter this year than the same period last year: $307.6 million, compared with $287.6 million in 2019’s third quarter. The company reported a record quarter based on strong openings from the properties across the country that lease land from GLPI.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Mike Shoro at [email protected] or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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