Penn pledges Tunica commitment despite Resorts Casino closure

Mounting competition and declining revenues are to see a further Tunica based casino property permanently close its doors, after Penn National Gaming announced plans to shed one of its three establishments in the area.

The Wyomissing, Pennsylvania headquartered organisation unveiled plans to shut Resorts Casino on June 30, subject to regulatory approvals, following the closure of Tunica Roadhouse Casino earlier in the year by Caesars Entertainment, who also terminated operations of its Harrah’s Tunica Hotel and Casino in the area five years ago when entering bankruptcy.

Penn National secured the operations of the property on March 2017, along with Bally’s Casino Tunica which it subsequently renamed to 1st Jackpot, and also operations Hollywood Casino Tunica, located adjacent to Resorts.

The company, which leases the property associated with the two casinos from Gaming and Leisure Properties, has seen the region suffer in part due to heightened competition from neighbouring Arkansas, who recently approved plans to adopt a number of land-based properties.

Regarding the pending closure, Al Britton, Penn National’s senior vice president of regional operations, explained: “With our acquisition of Resorts Casino as part of the two property deal, we knew we were acquiring an aging barge in need of significant capital improvements.

“While we did everything in our control to keep the property profitable over the last two years, increased competition from recent gaming expansion in Arkansas continues to drive the property’s business volumes lower. After exploring all viable alternatives, we are left with the difficult decision to close the business.”

Before stressing that the organisation has an ongoing commitment to the area, despite this announcement, and that a place will be sought for all Resorts Casino employees: “I want to thank the property’s nearly 200 team members for all their hard work, loyalty and commitment to this property during what has been an extended period of very difficult operating conditions.

“We’ll be seeking opportunities for these team members at our two other properties in Tunica, other area resorts, or at one of our other 39 properties across the country.

“I want to emphasise that despite this decision, Penn National remains committed to the Tunica market and continues to focus on the ongoing successful operations at our two remaining Tunica properties.”