Meadows Casino operator

New Operator Takes Over Meadows Casino And Its Gambling License

Meadows Racetrack and Casino has a new operator.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved the transfer of Meadows’ Category 1 slot license from Washington Trotting Association, a subsidiary of Cannery Casino Resorts, to Pinnacle Entertainment.

Pinnacle paid the state a $2.5 million fee for the transference of the license.

At the same time, the PGCB also approved the sale of Meadows’ land assets to Pennsylvania-based Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc., making GPLI the new owners.

The list of companies that have owned Meadows includes Cannery Casino Resorts, Ladbrokes, Magna Entertainment Corporation and now GPLI.

Following the PGCB’s approval, GPLI now owns the property and leases it to Pinnacle to run day-to-day operations.

The complex web of GPLI, Pinnacle and Penn National Gaming

GPLI owns around three dozen racing and casino properties across the country. However, GPLI only operates two of those properties, preferring to lease them out to other operators to run.

Two companies stand out as favored by GPLI:

  • Pinnacle Entertainment, which operates some 15 GPLI casino properties;
  • Penn National Gaming, which runs a dozen GPLI casinos and another six racinos, including Penn National in Pennsylvania.

Things get really complex when you start to unpack the corporate structure and ties between these three companies.

First, GPLI owes its existence to Penn National Gaming, as it was spun off from the company in November 2013 as a real estate investment trust (REIT).

Oddly enough, the impetus for the creation of GPLI was to finance a proposed casino in Milford, Massachusetts. That casino project was roundly rejected by voters, but GPLI lived on and started amassing casino properties and leasing most of them to Penn National.

In 2014, Pinnacle entered the picture, as it was going to create its own GPLI-inspired REIT spin-off company. At the time GPLI offered to purchase the properties from Pinnacle and lease them back to Pinnacle, saving them the trouble of forming an REIT.

It took a while for the two sides to come together, but this deal was completed in April 2016, and GPLI now owns 15 of Pinnacle’s 16 properties, leasing all of them back to Pinnacle.

So while these are all independent companies, they are very intertwined in their business dealings.

Online gambling implications?

It’s speculating to say so, but with Pennsylvania looking into online gambling legalization and regulation, the ties between Meadows and Penn National could be used to benefit both properties.

The day-to-day operation of Meadows may be in the hands of Pinnacle, and the day-to-day operation of Penn National left up to Penn National.

However, the two companies could conceivably use their mutual ties through GPLI to form an iGaming agreement of sorts to offer PA online casinos. They might even use the same online gambling platform provider and pool their PA online poker players, if they so desire.