The New Jersey Casino Control Commission granted Twin River Worldwide Holdings an interim casino authorization to purchase Bally’s Atlantic City from Caesars on November 5. The move is a preliminary step towards a full license.
The transaction expects to close by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, third-quarter results that beat Wall Street projections and a pending brand change to Bally Corporation put shares of Twin River Casinos Worldwide up 59 cents, or 2.48 percent, last week.
In a Thursday morning statement, Twin River announced net income of $6.7 million, or 22 cents per share, for the three months ended September 30. Despite its properties operating at 50 percent capacity, the profit was down much less than projected compared to net income of $7 million, or 18 cents per share, for the same quarter in 2019. Analysts had projected earnings 13 cents per share for the quarter.
Twin River’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, a cash flow measure that excludes one-time costs, rose 6.7 percent to $38 million from $35.6 million.
Twin River announced on October 11 that it will change its company name to Bally Corporation effective November 9, as its acquisition of Bally’s Atlantic City is pending regulatory approvals. The company announced it will rebrand most of its 14 properties in 10 states with the Bally’s name.
In announcing the third-quarter results Twin River CEO George Papanier said results at the Isle of Capri Casino in Kansas City, Missouri, and the Lady Luck in Vicksburg, Mississippi, which Twin River bought for $230 million from Eldorado Resorts in July 2019, drove the EBITDA increase.
“Our disciplined approach has preserved flexibility and moderated financial leverage to levels that have allowed us to have the liquidity to better deal with the kind of uncontrollable events 2020 has dealt us,” Papanier said. “Our first announced sale-leaseback transaction highlights, even during these challenging times, the untapped potential of our predominantly owned real estate portfolio.”
In Atlantic City, Caesars Entertainment Inc. operated the property until the commission agreed to the authorization. VICI Properties owns the land and building. The sale will pay the real estate investment trust $19 million with $6 million heading to Caesars.
When the acquisition concludes, the Wild Wild West Casino and the William Hill Sportsbook will move from Bally’s ownership to Caesars Atlantic City.
To deal with the loss of the William Hill sportsbook, FanDuel will open an in-person sports betting site at Bally’s. At that point, each of the nine casinos will contain retail sportsbooks, a boost to New Jersey’s growing fortunes as a sports betting capital.
FanDuel told The Associated Press the plan is to construct a temporary sportsbook by the end of the year and a permanent venue on the casino floor by next spring.
“They are great partners and we are thrilled to work with them in another exciting, gaming-centric market like Atlantic City,” said George Papanier, Twin River’s president and CEO. “The permanent sportsbook location is going to be one of the many changes we have in store for the Bally’s property.”
The Bally’s sportsbook will be FanDuel’s second in New Jersey, the other being at the Meadowlands Racetrack outside New York.
An investment of $90 million will help make Bally’s “a place to see and be seen” again. The money will refurbish rooms, add suites, bring in new restaurant brands and more gaming options, and renovate meeting and convention space, among other improvements.
“We want to make sure Bally’s is competitive again and return it to its former glory,” said Marc Crisafulli, a Twin River executive vice president. “We’re committed to making it a signature property again at the center of the Boardwalk.”
These days, Bally’s often finishes last among the nine casinos. For the first nine months of this year, Bally’s has won nearly $72 million; in contrast, the city’s top casino, the Borgata, won $373 million over that same period.