Penn National Gaming is acquiring Prairie State Gaming, an Illinois slot machine route operator in an all cash transaction. No purchase price was announced in Friday’s statement. The deal will give Penn ownership of more than a thousand video gaming terminals in over 250 Illinois locations.
In 2009, former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill into law allowing video gaming terminals to be offered at any business holding a liquor license, which in the state equates to selling wine by the glass. Thousands of so-called “slot-cafes” have sprung up since then, taking a big bite out of casino revenues. Prairie State Gaming was one of the top five route operators in the state with nearly $10 million in EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) generated by the machines in the fiscal year ending June 30th.
Penn National Gaming owns three casinos in Illinois including Hollywood Aurora and Hollywood Casino in Joliet. They recently spun off about 20 casinos to real estate investment trust, GLPI, and now own M Resort in Henderson, Nevada and are in the process of purchasing Tropicana Las Vegas in a $360 million deal which will give them their first foothold on the Las Vegas Strip.
The acquisition of profitable machines on a slots route gives the company revenue without real estate or lease confinements, while giving them a share of the emerging cafe market, that by some estimates accounts for nearly 40 percent of all gambling revenue in the state.
Jay Snowden, Chief Operating Officer of Penn National Gaming, commented, “The planned acquisition of PSG is consistent with our proven long-term strategy for growth through accretive acquisitions,”