Cannery Casinos selling Pennsylvania racetrack/casino for $465M

Las Vegas-based Cannery Casino Resorts is selling a Pittsburgh-area harness-racing track and casino in a $465 million deal.

Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. announced today it had entered into an agreement to acquire The Meadows in the Pittsburgh suburb of Washington, Pa.

The 180,000-square foot casino has 3,317 slot machines, 61 table games and 14 poker tables. The property includes 11 casual- and fine-dining restaurants, bars and lounges, a 24-lane bowling alley and a 5/8-mile racetrack with a 500-seat grandstand.

Approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and the Pennsylvania Racing Commission is required before the sale can become final. The parties expect the sale to close in 2015.

"The acquisition of The Meadows represents another step in the execution of our strategy to grow our company into the leading owner of high quality assets in key regional gaming markets,” Peter M. Carlino, chairman and chief executive officer of Gaming and Leisure Properties, said in a release.

William Paulos, co-CEO of Cannery Casino Resorts, said proceeds from the sale would be used to reduce Cannery’s debt.

"This is a terrific deal for CCR, and a great outcome for our employees, partners and customers at The Meadows," Paulos added in a news release.

Cannery Casino Resorts purchased the Meadows racetrack in 2005 for $200 million. In October 2006, it won conditional approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to own and operate The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, with final approval granted in December 2006. The Meadows opened a temporary casino on June 11, 2007. Its permanent facility opened April 15, 2009.

Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. of Wyomissing, Pa., said it immediately would begin a search for a third-party operator to which it would sell the license-holding entities and operating assets. Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. would retain ownership of the land and buildings.

Several projects are underway at the site. A new 154-room hotel, to be owned and operated by a third-party operator, is under construction adjacent to the casino and is expected to open in 2015. Additionally, a third-party retail center is planned, and the property contains developable space for an indoor event venue.