After evaluating COVID-19’s impact on the demand for travel and room nights in the Las Vegas market, Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN:NASDAQ GS) has reportedly decided to delay the reopening of the Tropicana Resort & Casino until Sept. 17.
Shuttered since mid-March due to the coronavirus, the hotel-casino is owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. (NASDAQ: GLPI), the spinoff real estate holding company created by the Wyomissing, Pennsylvania-headquartered company, which now leases its sole Strip property from the REIT (real estate investment trust).
Zia Park Casino Hotel & Racetrack in Hobbs, New Mexico, is the only other Penn property that has yet to reopen.
Penn National had planned to reopen the Tropicana on Sept. 1 but now, according to Penn spokesman Jeff Morris, that date has been pushed back by just over two weeks. That means it will miss the expected boost in foot traffic on Labor Day.
In an August 6 earnings call, President and Chief Executive Officer for Penn National Gaming Inc., Jay Snowden, had warned investors that the Strip property’s closure may be extended…
“There’s a lot of moving parts. We’re going to be really thoughtful around when and how we reopen (Tropicana). … As of right now, September feels right, but we have several more weeks to nail down an exact date, and if it’s not right, then we’ll wait a little bit longer to reopen,” according to the source.
The former Rat Pack hangout is taking reservations from Sept. 17th, and at that time will have limited offerings, including food options which will consist of a quick-serve menu from Robert Irvine’s Public House and Starbucks. The news agency further reports that the pool and spa will reopen but there will be no valet services or special events, tournaments, large drawings, banquet services, conventions, entertainment, or live music.
On March 27, 2020, Penn National announced it was selling the iconic property for $307.5 million, some $52.5 million less than it paid for it back in 2015. Snowden said at the time of the announcement that the deal was designed in part to allow the company to become more liquid as its 41 gaming and racing properties in 19 jurisdictions across the US remain closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Prior to the crisis, Penn had reportedly been looking to sell only the vacant land directly behind the Tropicana.
On the Nasdaq at market opening on Monday, Penn shares were down 1.73 percent to $55.60.