Bally’s sells Chicago casino property in $500M leaseback deal

BALLY'S CORP. announced Monday it has sold the property for its proposed Chicago casino to a private real estate equity firm in a $500 million lease-back deal.  

PROVIDENCE – Bally’s Corp. announced Monday it has sold the property for its proposed Chicago casino to a private real estate equity firm in a $500 million lease-back deal.  

Bally’s will now lease the 30-acre site of the former Chicago Tribune Publishing Center along the Chicago River to operate the casino over an initial 99-year term, followed by 10 separate 20-year renewals at Bally’s option. As part of the $200 million transaction, the private equity firm will fund up to an additional $300 million for Bally’s Chicago’s development through the ground lease structure. 

Representatives from Bally’s could not be immediately reached for comment Monday.

Soo Kim, Bally’s board chairman, said, “We are excited to be partnering with one of Chicago’s leading real estate private equity firm’s as we progress with building our $1.7 billion flagship property in the Chicago market. We continue to demonstrate our commitment to delivering a world-class entertainment facility that supports Chicago’s economy and community.” 

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Bally’s Corp. was selected by Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot on May 6 to build the city’s first casino that will include 3,400 slots; 170 table games; 10 food and beverage venues; a 500-room hotel tower with rooftop bar; a 3,000-seat, 65,000-square-foot entertainment center; a 20,000-square-foot exhibition, outdoor music venue; and outdoor green space, including a public river walk with a water taxi stop. 

Monday’s transaction follows other lease-back deals Bally’s has made this year. 

On April 4, Bally’s Corp. sold two casino properties in Illinois and Colorado to Gaming & Leisure Properties Inc. in a $150 million lease-back deal. 

Gaming & Leisure Properties Inc. took over ownership of both the land and buildings of Bally’s Quad Cities in Rock Island, Ill., and Bally’s Black Hawk in Black Hawk, Col., casino properties. Bally’s leases both sites to continue operating the casinos through Bally’s Master Lease and Gaming & Leisure Properties Inc. at an initial annual fixed rent of $12 million, subject to increases over time. 

Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. is a real estate investment trust based in Wyomissing, Pa., which specializes in casino properties. It was formed in November 2013 as a corporate spinoff from Penn National Gaming. 

On June 29, Bally’s Corp. agreed to sell the properties and buildings of its two Rhode Island casinos to Gaming & Leisure Properties Inc. for $1 billion. 

Gaming & Leisure Properties owns both the land and buildings of Twin River Casino in Lincoln and Bally’s Tiverton Casino & Hotel in Tiverton. Bally’s leases back both Rhode Island properties and continue to own, control and manage all the gaming operations of the facilities uninterrupted. 

Bally’s completed its acquisition of the Tropicana Las Vegas from Penn Entertainment and Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. on Sept. 27. As part of the deal, Bally’s paid $148 million for the nonland assets of the Tropicana, payable to Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. 

Bally’s is leasing the 35-acre parcel at the corner of Tropicana Boulevard and Las Vegas Boulevard for 50 years at an annual rent of $10.5 million. 

On Sept. 16, Marc A. Crisafulli, head of Bally’s Corp.’s Rhode Island operations and who played a lead role in the casino operator’s 20-year contract with the state while battling cancer, announced his retirement. 

Earlier this month Bally’s Corp. reported a profit of $593,000 in the third quarter. It expects full-year revenue of $2.25 billion. 

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