MGM Growth Properties (MGP), the casino operator’s real estate investment trust (REIT), announced this week that it’s paying for the Monte Carlo transformation to split the Strip resort into Park MGM and NoMad Las Vegas.
MGP is paying MGM Resorts $637.5 million for investments the latter made to renovate the Monte Carlo into its present incarnation. The REIT had already owned the Monte Carlo, and the exchange for covering the makeover project is that the annual lease is being increased by $50 million.
“The creation of Park MGM and NoMad Las Vegas … further solidify our position as a global resort and entertainment leader,” MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren said in a statement.
Murren continued, “MGM Resorts will continue to deliberately reduce our owned real estate. MGP is an attractive partner to achieve this goal. We remain committed to our stated strategic objectives, including reducing our ownership stake in MGP.”
Per MGP’s 2017 annual report, MGM Resorts held a 73.4 percent stake in the real estate investment vehicle.
Park MGM and its accompanying NoMad boutique hotel, which occupies the resort’s upper floors, jointly offer nearly 3,000 hotel rooms. MGM has created The Park neighborhood consisting of the namesake resort and New York-New York casino. The district is also home to T-Mobile Arena, which MGM has a 50 percent ownership stake in, and the Park Theater.
Real estate investment trusts are companies that own income-producing real estate. Gaming industry REITs typically own the land and physical assets of the casino resorts, and lease their operations back to companies such as MGM and Caesars Entertainment.
In the United States, REITs are afforded special tax privileges so long as they distribute at least 90 percent of their taxable income to shareholders. That’s what makes them attractive to potential investors.
In addition to Park MGM and New York-New York, MGP owns Strip casinos Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, and Mirage. Its portfolio also includes the $1.4 billion MGM National Harbor in Maryland, Atlantic City’s Borgata, and MGM Springfield, the $960 million integrated resort that opened in August.
The US economy continues to retract, and has been hit hard this week ahead of the holiday vacation. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost more than 1,100 points ahead of Friday trading, a decrease of nearly five percent.
Things have been equally bad for the gaming industry. After 2018 began as a flourishing year for casino stocks, the sector has since plummeted.
MGM Resorts shares have gone from $38 in January, to $23.52 at the close of trading yesterday, a loss of over 38 percent. And despite the investment news regarding Park MGM, shares of MGP fell 3.4 percent on Thursday.
However, the real estate investment company has weathered the year better, as MGP stock has lost just seven percent of their value since January.
Murren says utilizing the REIT allows MGM Resorts to improve its balance sheet by freeing up cash.