Boyd Gaming, the parent company of Dania Jai-Alai, shed some more light on its sale Monday during its quarterly meeting, including the fact they were losing about $4 million per year on the fronton.
“We have been saying all along that our highest priority is strengthening our balance sheet in the ongoing effort to improve our long-term financial position,” said Keith Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boyd Gaming.
The Las Vegas company announced Thursday that it was selling the fronton to Dania Entertainment, LLC, a local group whose owners have not been available for comment. The sale is expected to close by May 24. Boyd bought the property in $152 million in 2006, and announced on Thursday a sale price of $66.5 million, after an $80 million agreement with the Dania Entertainment fell through in 2011.
Boyd has many irons in the fire right now, so the Dania sale was only about the No. 4 topic of discussion:
The company announced Monday it plays to sell the Echelon property, a Las Vegas site that was formerly the Stardust and been on hold for about five years, to Genting Group for $2 billion.
Revenues were down at Boyd’s prize property, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, which it owns 50 percent of. Revenues fell 16 percent in the last quarter, which management blamed mostly on superstorm Sandy, which closed the casino for five days.
Leaping into the online gambling market, which it has been well-positioned to do, and now has legislative approval in New Jersey. Analysts say Boyd has a head start because it has a U.S.-wide base of properties, an established tech platform and name recognition with the Borgata. Boyd also launched a 90-day field trial in February at the Borgata, letting guests play video poker and slots via their room’s remote-controlled TV sets.
Dania Jai-Alai is the lone Broward pari-mutuel not to add slots, after a referendum that county voters approved in 2005. Boyd has held off on remodeling the 60-year-old fronton, citing a poor economic climate, an unfavorable slot tax rate from the state and heavy competition from the Seminole Tribe of Florida's Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in nearby Hollywood
During attempt to purchase, Dania Entertainment released renderings (left) that included a buffet restaurant, two casual restaurants and a fine dining venue with a performance stage and dinner theater-style seating, a night club, lounge and day club with pool and cabanas. The plans also included reducing fronton seating from 5,000 to 1,800 and using the court for live entertainment when no jai-alai is scheduled. The company must run 150 jai-alai sessions a year to keep its slot license.
Last year, Panthers CEO Michael Yormark announced a partnership with Boyd Gaming in an attempt to build a casino at the BB&T Center in Sunrise. Casinos not affiliated with Indian tribes or pari-mutuels are not yet legal in Florida, but Las Vegas companies are working to add destination-style casinos to the state.
“Our agreement with them could provide significant growth opportunities in the next several years,” Smith said.