Iowa: Churchill Downs Nears Acquisition of Hard Rock Sioux City 

Iowa: Churchill Downs Nears Acquisition of Hard Rock Sioux City 

  • Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) announced on Thursday that it is one step closer to acquiring Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City after receiving approval from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

Churchill Downs

CDI to Maintain Hard Rock Brand 

The unanimous vote represents a significant milestone in the company’s $2.75 billion bid to acquire Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E), the owner of the Hard Rock Casino and other racing and gambling properties in Virginia and New York. Churchill Downs first announced the agreement in February of this year.

Churchill Downs and Hard Rock Casino representatives stated they were “excited” about the purchase agreement and that the casino’s operations would remain unchanged after the deal closed. 

Tim Bryant, vice president of gaming operations at Churchill Downs, informed the commission that the company intends to maintain the Hard Rock brand and retain all 350 casino employees following the acquisition.

The 45,000-square-foot Hard Rock Sioux City casino features 639 slot machines, 20 gaming tables, and a 54-room hotel. The casino also features a sportsbook, live entertainment venues, restaurants, and a collection of music memorabilia. 

Churchill Downs will continue to honor the agreement between P2E and Missouri River Historical Development, the local non-profit that holds the casino’s state gaming license. 

Under a deal with Hard Rock, the MRDH receives 4.25 percent of casino revenue, which is then redistributed to charitable organizations, civic groups, and local governments in Woodbury and neighboring counties.

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CDI Significant Milestones Achieved This Year

Doug Fischer, general manager of Hard Rock, anticipates “no change” in the agreement between the casino and MRHD. He noted that the acquisition process was straightforward and intended to continue the business.

Initially, the agreement stipulated that Churchill Downs would sell the Hard Rock property to an unnamed third party, who would then lease the property to operate it. 

However, Churchill Downs ultimately decided to own and operate the casino property. This action triggered a clause in the agreement that increased the purchase price from $2.48 billion to $2.75 billion, an increase of $225 million.

The February purchase announcement included seven racetracks in Virginia and a casino in New York, pending regulatory approval in all three states. 

Churchill Downs acquired Colonial Downs Racing in New Kent, Virginia, and six Rosie’s Gaming Emporium properties in Virginia as part of the P2E transaction.

Additionally, the company intends to acquire the del Lago Casino and Resort in Waterloo, New York, a 96,000-square-foot casino with 1,700 slot machines and 80 table games, as well as an indoor sports betting and entertainment venue and exterior. 

Churchill Downs received approval from the Virginia Racing Commission for the acquisition in June and is currently awaiting approval from the New York Gaming Commission.

Churchill Downs recently reported its second-quarter financial results, which included record net revenues of $582,5 million and a record net income of $339,3 million. The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Racetrack generated momentum. In addition, the company achieved an all-time high Adjusted EBITDA of $291,2 million.


About Lou De Aguila

Lou Aguila is a news and feature writer for Golden Casino News. For over a decade, Lou has published news and featured articles for some of the most reputable sports betting and online casino sites in the world, including BetNow.UK, VegasOdds, and BWin. Apart from being a hardcore live casino punter, he also covers sports stories in North American leagues from time to time.