Cherokee Nation Entertainment Gaming Holdings, LLC, a subsidiary of Cherokee Nation Businesses, announced Thursday it has reached an agreement with MGM Resorts International to purchase the operations of Gold Strike Tunica for $450 million in cash, subject to customary adjustments. CNE Gaming Holdings, LLC, will enter into a long-term lease agreement with VICI Properties Inc., the Gold Strike property owner.
“Cherokee Nation Entertainment has a rich history of operating award-winning hospitality destinations in Oklahoma, and we are proud to continue our growth in gaming and bring the level of excellence we are known for to the Tunica area,” said Mark Fulton, president of Cherokee Nation Entertainment. “We are excited for the team at Gold Strike Tunica to join the CNE family.”
Gold Strike is located on the Mississippi River in Tunica, approximately 30 minutes from downtown Memphis. The property features a 32-story hotel tower that has become one of the most recognizable buildings in Tunica. Gold Strike features more than 1,100 oversized luxury guest rooms including 125 suites; the 50,000-square-foot casino includes a sportsbook; high-limit gaming area; conference and convention center; and award-winning dining options.
“We look forward to expanding our gaming and hospitality businesses as we execute on our strategic plan to grow our footprint outside of the Cherokee Nation Reservation,” said Chuck Garrett, CEO of Cherokee Nation Businesses. “This acquisition will enable us to better serve our mission of growing Cherokee Nation’s economy while also having a significant positive impact on the local economies we serve.
“The opportunity to expand our gaming and hospitality footprint outside of the Cherokee Nation Reservation and into commercial markets like Arkansas and Mississippi is truly exciting,” added Garrett. “In Pope County, our talented team of design professionals continue to make great progress on our development plans for Legends Resort & Casino. We continue to acquire land and look forward to proceeding with construction upon receiving the necessary permits and once all outstanding litigation is resolved. Furthermore, we remain wholly committed to fulfilling the terms of the Economic Development Agreement executed with Pope County.”
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
CBRE Securities served as exclusive strategic and financial advisor to Cherokee Nation Businesses in connection with the transaction. Latham Watkins, along with Scale LLP, served as legal advisors, and Jones Walker served as special gaming counsel.