The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved Penn National Gaming‘s takeover of The Meadows Racetrack and Casino gaming license this week.

The board approved the transfer of the license from Pinnacle Entertainment to Penn National at its March 21 meeting. Pinnacle has held the license since September 2016.

Penn National Gaming, Inc., is a publicly traded company based in Wyomissing. It owns and operates dozens of casinos and racetracks across the country. Its list of gaming properties includes Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville.

Penn National acquiring Pinnacle Entertainment

Penn National announced in December 2017 it was acquiring gaming-industry competitor Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal worth approximately $2.8 billion.

Rumors of the deal first surfaced in October 2017 when the Wall Street Journal reported ongoing discussions.

According to reports, Penn National Gaming will operate a combined 41 casino and gaming properties once the deal is finalized, including The Meadows.

In order to meet regulatory requirements, Penn National was forced to sell four Pinnacle casino properties that were part of the deal to Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming Corp. for $575 million.

These casinos include:

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

Penn National Gaming corporate spin-off Gaming and Leisure Properties originally bought The Meadows from Las Vegas-based Cannery Casino Resorts for $465 million in 2014.

However, Pinnacle signed a $138 million deal with the company to operate the Pennsylvania casino in 2016.

Gaming and Leisure will continue to own the real estate and lease the casino and racetrack to Penn National as a part of the Pinnacle acquisition.

However, Penn National will have to cough up a $3.75 million control fee to PGCB.

The Meadows Racetrack and Casino

The racetrack at The Meadows first opened near Pittsburgh in June 1963. The Meadows takes its name from part-owner and Pennsylvania horse racing industry legend Delvin Miller‘s nearby Meadow Lands Farm.

The track traded hands a few times over the years. However, racetrack giant Magna Entertainment Corporation held ownership when Pennsylvania first started considering authorizing the operation of slots at racetracks.

Las Vegas gaming operator Cannery Casino Resorts bought the property at that time.

A temporary casino with more than 1,700 slot machines opened at The Meadows in June 2007. That same year, Australian billionaire James Packer bought a minority interest in the property.

A permanent casino with 350,000 square feet of gaming space took its place in April 2009. Plus, the casino added table games a year later in accordance with a change in Pennsylvania gambling laws.