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Nasdaq-listed casino operator Century Casinos is set to acquire the operations of Rocky Gap Casino Resort from current owner Lakes Maryland Development, in a deal worth around $56m.

As Century prepares to acquire the property’s operations, its real estate assets will be acquired by an affiliate of leisure-focused real estate investment trust VICI Properties, in a purchase worth some $204m.

Following the deal, Century’s existing triple net lease agreement with VICI will be amended to include the Rocky Gap property, with initial annual rent of approximately $15.5m to be paid to the real estate owner.

The purchase price of the casino operations represent an implied 2021 EBITDA multiple of 4.9x. That multiple excludes any potential cost synergies and operational improvements associated with the acquisition. The purchase is expected to be immediately accretive to Century’s earnings.

“The addition of Rocky Gap is another important milestone in our pursuit to acquire prime US assets. With this acquisition and our pending acquisition of the Nugget Casino Resort in Nevada, we will oversee a US portfolio that reaches from east to west,” said Erwin Haitzmann and Peter Hoetzinger, co-CEOs of Century Casinos, in a statement. 

“We are looking forward to working with the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency to obtain gaming approvals and with the casino leadership and team members to effect a smooth transition and great future for Rocky Gap,” they concluded.

In addition to its casino gaming assets, Century will have the ability to partner with a sports betting operator to bring wagering to the property, which does not currently offer a retail sportsbook.

The operator already holds sports betting agreements in other states, such as its three online betting partnerships in Colorado with Circa Sports, bet365 and Tipico.

In-person wagering has taken place in Maryland since its first retail sportsbook opened in December 2021. Online sports betting remains unregulated in the state, and is not expected to launch until at least 2023.

Yesterday (25 August), it was revealed that DraftKings had secured the latest retail sportsbook licence to be issued in the state, as the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission approved the operator’s application to run the sportsbook at Timonium Racetrack on the state fairgrounds.

Century’s acquisition of Rocky Gap’s operations is expected to close in mid-2023 subject to regulatory and governmental approvals and customary closing conditions.

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