JACK Management buys two Ohio casinos from Dan Gilbert

Posted: Jan 18, 2021, 6:00 am.

Last update on: January 18, 2021, 09:38 am.

Billionaire businessman Dan Gilbert has left the Ohio casino business. That’s after he reportedly sold his JACK Entertainment to the company’s management team last month.

JACK Entertainment
JACK Thistledown Racino in Ohio. Management acquired this venue and another casino from Dan Gilbert. (Image: News 5 Cleveland)

JACK chairman Matthew Cullen confirmed to Cleveland Jewish News (CJN) that the game company no longer has ties to Gilbert’s sprawling business empire. However, the company’s headquarters have moved from Detroit to Cleveland, the home of Gilbert’s Cavaliers NBA franchise.

The JACK management team, which has been with the company since its inception, remains and now owns a controlling stake in the company, ”Cullen said in a statement to CJN.

The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. JACK Casino in downtown Cleveland and JACK Thistledown Racino in North Randall, Ohio are estimated to have combined annual sales of $ 400 to $ 500 million.

There are 11 commercial arcades in the state of Buckeye, and with the move of JACK, it is the only Ohio casino operator based in the state.

Gilbert’s gradual casino exit

Ohio voters approved the gambling in 2009, and Gilbert was instrumental in opening the state’s first gaming house, Horseshoe Casino Cleveland. three years later in partnership with Caesars Entertainment.

JACK’s schedule eventually grew to include six venues. But by 2018 Gilbert signaled a desire to leave the casino business. Selling partners included Churchill Downs and VITI Properties from REIT (Gaming Real Estate Investment Trust). Greektown Casino in Detroit was sold by JACK to VICI and Penn National Gaming for $ 1 billion in late 2018. Speculation fueled Gilbert, who wanted to sell his gambling assets to play with the Detroit Tigers Major League Baseball (MLB).

Gilbert, who was valued at $ 49.6 billion last August, is from Motor City. His best-known companies are Quicken Loans and the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA.

Ohio casinos are falling

Currently, the casinos in Buckeye State are open after being closed for several months in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the health crisis has consumed a large portion of the state’s gross gaming revenue (GGR).

Last year, the state’s four casinos – the other seven arcades are classified as racinos – combined revenues of $ 643.37 million, up from $ 850.98 million in 2019. The four casinos are JACK Cleveland, the Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati and two Hollywood arcades. The Racinos are Belterra Park in Cincinnati, Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs in Columbus, MGM Northfield, Hollywood Gaming Dayton, Hollywood Mahoning Valley in Youngstown, JACK Thistledown in Cleveland and Miami Valley Gaming in Lebanon.

A potential catalyst for Buckeye state operators, including JACK, is sports betting. Last week, Governor Mike Dewine said he was optimistic that sports betting would be approved in the state this year. Each of the 11 venues in the state is eligible for one skin, and there is mobile betting space through those skins.

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