Wyomissing firm buys Pittsburgh-area casino

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Wyomissing-based Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc., a company that spun off from Penn National Gaming Inc. last year, will be acquiring the Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington in western Pennsylvania from Cannery Casino Resorts LLC for $465 million.

The 180,000-square-foot casino opened in 2007.

"The acquisition of The Meadows represents another step in the execution of our strategy to grow our company into the leading owner of high-quality assets in key regional gaming markets,” said Peter M. Carlino, chairman and CEO of Gaming and Leisure Properties.

The casino has 3,317 slot machines, 61 table games and 14 poker tables. In addition to the casino, the property includes 11 casual and fine dining restaurants, bars and lounges, a 24-lane bowling alley and a 5/8-mile racetrack with a 500-seat grandstand.

A new 154-room hotel, to be owned and operated by a third-party operator, is under construction adjacent to the casino and is expected to open in 2015. In addition, a new, third-party retail center is planned, and the property contains developable space for an indoor event venue.

The purchase is for the real estate assets of the casino.

Gaming and Leisure Properties is in the business of acquiring, financing and owning real estate property to be leased to gaming operators.

The company said it will immediately begin a search for a third-party operator for the property, to whom the company expects to sell the entities holding the licenses and operating assets, while retaining ownership of the land and buildings.

Carlino said the company intends to elect to be taxed as a real estate investment trust for federal income tax purposes commencing with the 2014 taxable year. That would make the company the first gaming-focused REIT in the nation, according to a spokesman.

Penn National Gaming operates casinos across the nation, including Hollywood Casino at the Penn National Race Course near Hershey. Penn National Gaming also operates an off-track betting facility in Reading.

Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook. Circle Stacy Wescoe on .

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