Las Vegas, Nevada’s Boyd Gaming Corporation ended 2017 with a flurry of casino acquisition activity. Activity that included buying its first-ever casino property in Pennsylvania: Valley Forge Casino Resort.

Wyomissing, PA’s Penn National Gaming announced the week before Christmas it is buying competitor Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. The acquisition is a cash-and-stock deal worth close to $2.8 billion. However, in order to meet regulatory requirements, Penn National is being forced to sell the gaming operations of four existing Pinnacle properties it will acquire through the purchase. Boyd Gaming has stepped in to buy the casinos for $575 million in cash.

The properties are:

  • Ameristar Kansas City
  • Ameristar St. Charles
  • Belterra Park
  • Belterra Casino Resort

At the time, Boyd Gaming said it expects the four-casino deal to close in the second half of 2018.

Boyd buying Valley Forge

Just a few days later, Boyd Gaming announced it has also entered into an agreement with Valley Forge Convention Center Partners, L.P., to acquire Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia, PA. The purchase price is listed as $280.5 million.

Before these transactions, Boyd Gaming already owned and operated two dozen gambling operations across the country. This includes a dozen in the Las Vegas-area alone. Its flagship property is the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Valley Forge Casino Resort is just 20 miles west of downtown Philadelphia. It will be Boyd Gaming’s first Pennsylvania casino. The Keystone State is the second-largest commercial gaming state in the nation behind Nevada.

Boyd Gaming’s President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Smith said in a press release the acquisition represented a growth opportunity for both Boyd and Valley Forge:

“The acquisition of Valley Forge Casino Resort is another excellent opportunity to further grow and diversify our nationwide portfolio. With this acquisition, we will expand into the second-largest gaming state in the country, establishing a presence in a densely populated, high-traffic area just west of Philadelphia. And thanks to Pennsylvania’s recent passage of gaming expansion legislation, there are new opportunities to drive incremental growth at Valley Forge through the expansion of the property’s slot capacity and the introduction of new forms of gaming.”

Valley Forge currently boasts a 40,000-square foot casino with 600 slot machines and 50 table games. Plus, the property also includes nearly 500 hotel rooms, eight restaurants and bars, and more than 100,000 square feet of convention space.

It sits just two miles north of King of Prussia Mall, the largest shopping mall in the country.

Valley Forge slot expansion

In November, Valley Forge paid the state to have its customer admission fee abolished, and made plans to add 250 more slot machines, in accordance with new laws governing gambling expansion. However, the new laws also allow the property to offer online gambling within the state, as well as sports betting, should it ultimately be permitted under federal law.

Smith said Boyd is considering jumping in both sectors in PA.

He also said the recent acquisitions bring Boyd Gaming’s casino portfolio up to 29 casino properties operating across 10 states. Additionally, Smith said the acquisitions give the company direct access to four of the nation’s largest gaming markets in Philadelphia, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Cincinnati.

Boyd expects the Valley Forge transaction will close in the third quarter of 2018.

Martin Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.