Monday, July 31, 2000 | 9:05 a.m.
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Continuing its expansion into the casino industry, racetrack operator Penn National Gaming said Monday it plans to acquire a riverboat casino in Louisiana and manage a casino on American Indian land in Canada.
Wyomissing-based Penn National, which owns three horse-racing tracks in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and 11 off-track wagering facilities in Pennsylvania, will purchase Carnival Resorts and Casinos for $95.8 million and assume about $32 million of CRC's debt.
It also will acquire a related business, Louisiana Casino Cruises Inc., in which CRC has a stake, for $32.5 million.
The planned acquisitions follow Penn National's $195 million purchase of a pair of casinos in Mississippi last year.
With its Louisiana purchase, Penn National will acquire the Casino Rouge, a 47,000-square-foot riverboat gaming facility on the east bank of the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, La. The boat, a replica of a 19th-century paddlewheel steamboat, has a capacity for 1,800 patrons with 974 gaming machines and 42 table games. It embarks eight times daily.
Carnival Resorts also holds the management contract for Casino Rama, a gaming resort and retail center located about 80 miles north of Toronto on land owned by the Chippewa tribe. The casino features 2,300 slot machines and 110 table games, and has a nightclub and 3,000-seat outdoor theater.
Peter M. Carlino, chief executive officer of Penn National, said the agreement "builds the critical mass of our gaming operations when combined with our soon-to-be-completed acquisition of the Casino Magic hotel and casino and the Boomtown Biloxi casino," both in Mississippi.
The Louisiana and Canadian transactions are subject to regulatory approvals and are expected to be complete by mid-2001. The Mississippi deals also are pending review.
Penn National's stock was down 25 cents at $14.56quarter in early trading Monday on the Nasdaq exchange.