Eldorado resorts to purchase Tropicana Entertainment

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Having lost its casino license a decade ago after former owners made drastic cuts that left it filthy, understaffed and losing customers, the Tropicana became the No. 2 casino in Atlantic City in terms of overall gambling revenue under the ownership of billionaire investor Carl Icahn, trailing only the Borgata.

The transaction does not include Tropicana's Aruba asset, which will be disposed of as a condition of closing, according to the release.

Carl Icahn also tweeted about the deal on Monday morning as well.

Gaming and Leisure Properties, a company that owns 37 casinos in the USA, will add to its portfolio by acquiring almost all of Tropicana Entertainment's real estate, except the MontBleu and the Tropicana Aruba, for $1.21 billion. The property features 1,088 slot machines, 30 table games, a 12-table poker room and four dining options, including Prime BurgerHouse, the award-winning Buckinghams Steakhouse & Lounge, the Indulge Show Kitchen Buffet and the 24-hour Crave Deli.

Icahn said that when he acquired an interest in Tropicana in 2008, it was bankrupt yet undervalued.

The company is acquiring the operating assets of seven casinos in six states including the Tropicana Laughlin and MontBleu Casino in South Lake Tahoe.

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He credited a strong management team led by CEO Tony Rodio and a strategy of "reinvesting every single penny of profits back into the company" for helping Tropicana get back on its feet.

Rodio meanwhile hailed Tropicana's turnaround in his own statement as "one of the industry's true success stories" that had created hundreds of construction jobs and employed thousands of additional employees since 2010. The purchase also doesn't include the Tropicana property in Aruba.

The deal is targeted to close during the second half of the year.

Reno-based Eldorado owns and operates twenty properties in 10 US states, including Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The company said it enters the Atlantic City market realizing it is about to expand with the re-opening of two shuttered casinos that will increase the amount of properties to nine, but feels it can operate the Tropicana Atlantic City profitably.

Eldorado's share prices jumped 21 percent today after announcing the deal, as well as the $327 million cash purchase of the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, Illinois.

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