Gateway unloads 3 Vancouver Casinos to US Buyer

Gateway to sale-lease 3 BC Canada casinos in Vancouver area.

Gateway sells 3 BC casinos i Vancouver to US firmCanada’s casino properties are changing hands like hot potatoes these days. For the last two years, the headlines have been alight with stories of provincial regulators selling the operational rights to ‘casino bundles‘ from British Columbia to Ontario. Now, one of those companies is passing the proprietary torch to an American investment firm.

Gateway Casinos & Entertainment issued a press release on Monday announcing the finalization of a ‘Sale-Leaseback‘ agreement with Mesirow Realty Sale-Leaseback Inc. Clearly, Mesirow is in the business of sale-leaseback contracts, and the opportunity to add three Vancouver casinos to its portfolio was too sweet a deal to pass up.

Gateway Unloads 3 BC Casinos in Vancouver Area

According to the press release, Gateway is selling three of its casino properties in the Greater Vancouver Regional District. The properties include the Grand Villa Casino in Burnaby, the Starlight Casino in New Westminster, and Cascades Casino Langley.

Talk of a sale-leaseback agreement has been ongoing for the greater part of a year. In June 2017, Gateway Executive Chairman Gabriel de Alba spoke with Reuters. He disclosed that the company was in talks with investors from North America, Europe and Asia concerning the trio of Vancouver casinos, valued at more than CA-$500 million.

Since then, Gateway has been waiting for the regulatory approval from the British Columbia Lottery Corp (BCLC), a necessary step prior to the finalization of any negotiations. Now that the paperwork is all in order, the sale agreement is going through.

Under the terms of the contract, Chicago-based Mesirow will assume the role of landlord for the three gambling facilities. Gateway will lease the property from its new owners, and continue to run day to day operations of the casinos.

The casino corporation is not revealing the exact sale price, except to say that it’s “in excess of $500 million and delivering net proceeds of $483 million to Gateway”.

Sale of Vancouver Casinos Part of Gateway’s Strategy

Chairman de Alba salutes the sale-leaseback agreement as a strategic move that will strengthen the company’s portfolio. “Gateway is unmatched in the industry when it comes to the quality of its assets and strategy, strength of its financial performance and, just as importantly, the operational excellence of its management team,” he says.

“We have dramatically changed Gateway’s performance profile, positioned it to reduce debt and expanded both the company’s top and bottom line,” he continues. Mr. de Alba says this move opens “significant opportunities for growth and a high return on capital.”

The press release promises that the casinos will continue to offer the “same exceptional value” to its customers. At the same time, they do not expect any changes in staff or operational systems at these locations.

Once the sale-leaseback deal officially closes on their casinos in Vancouver, Gateway will maintain a real estate portfolio with a value of more than $200 million. “With robust growth, sophisticated operations and excellent customer service at our properties across the country, Gateway has established itself as the leading gaming and entertainment operator in Canada,” says de Alba.

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