Posted on: December 5, 2022, 06:02h. 

Last updated on: December 5, 2022, 06:39h.

VICI Properties (NYSE:VICI) is providing financing to Century Casinos (NASDAQ:CNTY) so that the gaming operator can refurbish its eponymous Caruthersville, Mo. casino-hotel.

Century Casinos
The Century Casino in Caruthersville, Mo. The operator is enhancing the venue with financing from VICI Properties. (Image: KFVS12)

Last Friday, Century broke ground on the enhancements, which are expected to cost $51.9 million. To finance the project, it is amending its master lease agreement with VICI. That agreement will increase by $4.2 million following completion of the enhancements, and when the renovations are finished, the landlord will own the new property assets.

Century Casinos Caruthersville is the last riverboat casino in Missouri, and last year received approval from the Missouri Gaming Commission to come ashore. It’s one of two gaming venues in the state operated by Century, with the other being in Cape Girardeau.

Through these developments, Century Casinos is transforming Century Casino Caruthersville from the last remaining riverboat casino on the Mississippi River to a full destination resort with the ability to attract customers from even further into Missouri, Tennessee and Arkansas, while providing existing customers with an even better casino experience,” according to a statement issued by the operator.

The new casino-hotel is scheduled to open in 2024.

Century and VICI Have History

The involvement of Century and VICI on the two Missouri casinos goes back more than three years with the firms acquiring the operating rights and real estate of those assets in 2019.

Those assets were acquired from the company previously known as Eldorado Resorts. It was part of that firm’s plan to offload some smaller venues leading up to its acquisition of Caesars Entertainment. Those gaming properties, along with the Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort in West Virginia, were included in one transaction.

The total purchase price was $385 million, with Century doling out $107 million for operating rights. The Caruthersville casino “consists of a dockside casino featuring 21,000 square feet of casino space, 513 slot machines, nine table games, two dining venues, a 40,000 square foot pavilion, and a 28-space RV park,” according to Century.

Century also purchased land adjacent to the Caruthersville, later shelling out $3.7 million to renovate a building there into the Farmstead — a farmhouse style hotel. That’s currently the only hotel in the city until the aforementioned project funded by VICI is completed.

Century Missouri Plans

When Century’s Caruthersville enhancements are completed, the casino will feature 650 slot machines, with the possibility of adding another 140 gaming devices. There will also be table games, a bar, a deli, and the new hotel will feature 38 rooms.

Last year, news broke that the company is mulling the addition of a hotel to its Cape Girardeau casino. The addition of lodging there could make the regional gaming venue a more appealing destination, and help the operator better capitalize on some built-in geographic advantages. The town is home to Southeast Missouri State University, and is just 100 miles away from St. Louis and 150 miles from Memphis.

In the US, Century also operates casinos in its home state of Colorado and West Virginia, and is in the process of acquiring a casino-resort in Sparks, Nevada as well as one in Maryland.