MGM cashes in real estate chips; Gaming enjoys a hot spring

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From MGM’s sale of the company’s casino land to the gambling boom among Las Vegas residents and across the country, this is a hot summer in the gaming industry.

The largest players on the Strip used to be MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment. Now the big kahuna is VICI Properties.

Real estate investment fund simply spent $ 17.2 billion to acquire the property of MGM, which belonged to a separate trust established many years ago by the casino giant.

“The simplest answer is that they are mostly homeowners, they buy land and buildings in all these different industries,” said longtime gaming industry reporter Howard Stutz in Nevada.

The deal will free up cash for MGM, which will continue to manage the property on a long-term lease, he said.

“They can use this money to reinvest in their property and promote the online gaming and mobile sports betting they’ve been doing across the country,” Stutz said.

VICI has entered into similar deals with Caesars and Las Vegas Sands for some of their properties. On the Strip, the trust will control over 660 acres of land covering a dozen properties, including nearly 40,000 hotel rooms and 6 million square feet of meeting and meeting space.

In other industry news, the American Gaming Association reported that the industry had its own best second quarter in history, earning $ 13.6 billion and is arguably close to its best year ever.

“People were coming out,” Stutz told the state of Nevada. “In March, for the first time in many places, we really managed to leave.”

One caveat: The trade optimist group’s report came before the COVID-19 delta variant, which added fuel to the pandemic.

Stutz said that while the auto markets performed well during the pandemic, Las Vegas continues to suffer from shrinking international and conference business, and Nevada has seen only modest revenue growth.

Local casinos have performed well, and Stutz believes their amenities, such as restaurants, helped lure people back in when the pandemic’s restrictions were eased.

“I think that’s really what it all boils down to – people want to leave.”

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