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Under-Construction Hard Rock Casino in Illinois Changes Ownership

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Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI), a real estate investment trust focusing on the gaming space, revealed its recent acquisition of the northern Illinois site associated with the under-construction Hard Rock Casino in Rockford. The purchase from 815 Entertainment's affiliate is valued at $100 million.

GLPI Deepens Commitment with Significant Investment

GLPI recently cemented its position in the Hard Rock Casino project with a 99-year lease agreement alongside 815 Entertainment. The initial rent for this long-term lease is $8 million, which will see a 2% rise annually.

Related: Hard Rock Casino Sportsbook Gets Illinois Approval

In a move to deepen its commitment, GLPI is channeling up to $150 million into the casino's development. The establishment, expected to launch in September 2024, will boast an expansive 60,000 square-foot gaming arena, decked out with 1,250 slot machines, 50 table games, and diverse sportsbook options.

Highlighting the project's ongoing expenditure, about $120 million of the $358 million budget has been spent. Meanwhile, 815 Entertainment continues to manage its interim 37,800-square-foot casino that started serving patrons in November 2021.

Strategic Collaborations and Forward-Looking Plans

The business partnership centers around 815 Entertainment, owned by Dan Fischer in collaboration with a consortium of local investors and Hard Rock International, the latter also serving as the property's manager. This collaboration presents GLPI with an opportunity to enlarge its operational territory, marking the addition of a new lease, a fresh tenant and a pledge for potential project funding.

GLPI's CEO, Peter Carlino, emphasized the benefits of the deal, noting the promising early performance of 815 Entertainment's provisional facility. This, he believes, indicates the project's potential for success, given its strategic location and market depth.

Jon Lucas, the chief operating officer for Hard Rock International, reciprocated this optimism, lauding the financial fortitude and growth strategy of Hard Rock. This potential, he mentioned, is amplified with robust partners like GLPI and 815 Entertainment on board.

Additionally, in the wake of these transactions, GLPI will secure a right of first refusal pertaining to the structural improvements of the Hard Rock Casino. This provision comes into play if a decision arises to sell these enhancements post-completion, as stated by company representatives.

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