Circus Circus Casino Sale to Ruffin Approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission
The sale of MGM’s Circus Circus casino to billionaire Phil Ruffin has been cleared by the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC). The deal between Ruffin and MGM Resorts International is worth $825 million. The sale was approved by the commission on Thursday, December 19 at an NGC meeting in which the sale of Circus Circus was discussed.
The man who will be the new owner of Circus Circus owns Treasure Island. Furthermore, Ruffin also has a stake in the Trump International Hotel on the Strip.
MGM announced that it was planning to sell its Circus Circus property in mid-October. Ruffin will be paying $662.5 million in cash along with a $162.5 million note due in 2024. The casino was originally opened in 1968 and cost just $15 million. Today, it now employs 2,300 staff and is the home of the Adventuredome, a five-acre indoor amusement park.
In the $825 million deal, Ruffin will get the 37-acre Las Vegas Festival grounds at Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue.
Circus Circus is known for being a cost-effective casino, especially when compared to other higher-end venues on the Strip. However, it also lacks the glitz and luxury of other MGM properties like the Mirage and Bellagio. And its new owner wants to keep its cost-friendly reputation. Ruffin has also hinted at renovating some rooms in the future along with adding new games like bingo.
It seems like Circus Circus isn’t the last Las Vegas property MGM is parting with. It is working with its real estate investment trust (REIT) MGM Growth Properties LLC (NYSE:MGP) to eventually divest the Mandalay Bay. The MGP is aiming to raise money with a share sale that was announced last month. This has sparked speculation that the REIT could be a bidder for the MGM Grand’s real estate assets. MGM CEO Jim Murren confirmed that the company was looking at its owned real estate. “MGM Resorts has engaged in an exhaustive process to evaluate its owned real estate and remains committed to executing its asset-light strategy in a measured way that maximizes value for its shareholders,” he said.
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