The Gaming Commission began Thursday to wade through a complex proposed real estate transaction that would boil down to the MGM Springfield land and property being sold to MGM’s real estate investment trust for $400 million and it being leased back to MGM Resorts for $30 million annually to continue to operate the casino.
When the transaction was announced, the real estate investment trust – MGM Growth Properties – said it expected no change to MGM Springfield’s “employees, vendors, customers, and the community.” Even if the sale and change could have no significant impacts on the operations of the casino, the first to open under the Bay State’s 2011 expanded gaming law, the Gaming Commission must scrutinize each of the various moving parts and vote on whether to approve the transfer.
“We are excited to add MGM Springfield to our portfolio of high-quality gaming resort real estate and are encouraged by the property’s recent record financial performance. This transaction reflects the continued execution of our growth strategy,” James Stewart, CEO of MGM Growth Properties, said. When announced in May, the transaction was expected to close by the end of 2021.
MGM Resorts has executed similar transactions with other properties around the country as part of an “asset light” strategy that frees up liquid cash that the company can invest in other casinos, use to pursue sports betting expansion or to benefit shareholders. CDC Gaming Reports said MGM Springfield is the last of the MGM regional casino properties to be sold to MGM Growth Properties (MGP).
As of the end of 2020, the REIT controlled approximately 32,400 hotel rooms, 1.6 million square feet of casino facilities and 3.6 million square feet of convention space, it said.
“As a growth-oriented public real estate entity, MGP expects its relationship with MGM Resorts and other entertainment providers to attractively position MGP for the acquisition of additional properties across the entertainment, hospitality and leisure industries,” the company said in its press release boilerplate.