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JACK Entertainment to sell Turfway Park and JACK Cincinnati Casino to Hard Rock, VICI for $780M

NKyTribune staff

Following a strategic assessment of its business portfolio, JACK Entertainment LLC (“JACK Entertainment”) today announced that it has entered into multiple contracts to sell JACK Cincinnati Casino and Turfway Park to Hard Rock International and VICI Properties for $780 million, pending regulatory approval.

VICI will simultaneously enter into a favorable triple-net leased fee agreement with Hard Rock International. 

Hard Rock International will be responsible for the operations at both properties. JACK Cleveland Casino and JACK Thistledown Racino will not be impacted by this transaction and JACK Entertainment remains committed to investing in and operating these properties.

“We viewed the gaming industry as a catalyst for economic development in our local communities. After ten years, hundreds of millions of dollars of investment developing JACK Cincinnati Casino from the ground up, and establishing a strong customer focused culture, we have successfully positioned JACK Cincinnati Casino for further future success,” said Matt Cullen, Chief Executive Officer of JACK Entertainment.

“We are confident that Hard Rock and its world-renowned brand will be a great addition to the Queen City and the right choice to take JACK Cincinnati Casino and Turfway Park to the next level of growth. We chose to sell to Hard Rock, in large part, due to its great culture and quality of its leadership. They are an outstanding operator that JACK Cincinnati Casino and Turfway Park team members will enjoy working with as they continue to deliver excellent service to our guests.”

Through the joint purchase, Hard Rock, with a presence in more than 75 countries, will acquire the operating assets of the casino, rebranding it Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati, while VICI will own the land and real estate assets.

“Hard Rock has been the number one operator in Ohio since opening in the greater Cleveland market in 2013,” said Jim Allen, chairman and CEO of Hard Rock International. “And now, we look forward to introducing our unique brand of casino entertainment to Cincinnati. On behalf of the 40,000 Hard Rock team members worldwide, I am pleased to welcome the more than 1,000 JACK Cincinnati employees into the Hard Rock family.”

JACK Cincinnati is situated on 22 acres in the Broadway Commons area of downtown Cincinnati. The property features 100,000 square feet of gaming space with approximately 1,800 gaming machines and 100 table games. Additionally, the property contains 33,000 square feet of meeting space, six high-quality restaurants and two bars.

New property improvements will be announced by Hard Rock later this year.

“We are proud to partner with Hard Rock, further diversifying our tenant roster with an international leader in gaming, entertainment and hospitality experiences and a renowned global platform of 245 hospitality venues across 75 countries,” said John Payne, president and chief operating officer of VICI Properties.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions and is expected to close in late 2019.

The acquisition is expected to be accretive immediately upon closing.

Jones Day served as legal advisor to Hard Rock together with Fox Rothschild LLP, as special gaming counsel.Subsequent to regulatory approval for the transaction, JACK Entertainment will work with Hard Rock International to ensure a smooth transition for all guests and team members. During the transition, the property will remain open for business as usual.

Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC and Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. are acting as financial advisors and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP is acting as legal advisor to Jack Ohio LLC and certain of its affiliates in connection with the transactions described above.

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