Grand Victoria Casino sold for $327 million

The Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin has been sold for $327.5 million.

MGM Resorts International along with its venture partner are selling the casino to Eldorado Resorts.

The cash deal is expected to close within 12 months.

"This transaction represents yet another milestone for Eldorado as we continue to opportunistically expand our regional gaming platform through accretive acquisitions," said Gary Carano, chairman and CEO of Eldorado based in Reno, Nevada.

"Grand Victoria is one of the leading casinos in the Chicagoland market and is extremely well maintained which will allow us, upon closing, to focus on enhancing the guest experience and operating results without the need to undertake capital investments. As we work toward closing this acquisition by the end of 2018, we look forward to welcoming the team at Grand Victoria to the Eldorado family," Carano said in a statement.

The casino, which opened to the public Oct. 6, 1994, was once a bustling venue. However, it has had to contend with competition from Rivers Casino, which opened in 2011 in Des Plaines, and from the video gambling industry.

Grand Victoria Casino posted $168.7 million in revenues last year, up from $163.5 million in 2016, according to data from the Illinois Gaming Board. The casino's revenues steadily declined since 2007, when they reached a peak of $436.7 million.

The casino employed more than 2,500 people when it first opened, but that has dwindled to a little more than 800 over the years, officials said.

A big reason was the boat was required to leave its dock and cruise the Fox River for people to gamble when it first opened. Cruises, which generally lasted 1½ hours, ended when dockside gambling was enacted in 2000.

The casino features 1,088 slot machines, 30 table games, a 12-table poker room and four dining options, including Prime BurgerHouse, Buckinghams Steakhouse & Lounge, the Indulge Show Kitchen Buffet and the 24-hour Crave Deli. It also offers 7,495 square feet of meeting and banquet space, event and concert facilities, a 1,450-space parking garage, and additional parking for 600 vehicles.

Eldorado Resorts, a large casino entertainment company, owns and operates 20 other properties in 10 states, including Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

MGM Resorts said it will receive its 50 percent share of the proceeds after certain transaction costs, or approximately $162 million. The company acquired its 50 percent interest in Grand Victoria in connection with its acquisition of Mandalay Resort Group in 2005.

• Daily Herald staff writer Elena Ferrarin contributed to this report.

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