The coalition of investors led by a Canadian private equity firm closed its acquisition of Delaware Park Casino and Racetrack on Wednesday in a sale totaling at least $90 million.
The Rickman family, the former owner of Ocean Downs casino and track in Maryland who has owned the Delaware casino and racetrack for decades, announced in November that they had reached a sale agreement with the investment firm Clairvest Group and a newly formed subsidiary of Rubico Gaming LLC, run by investor Thomas Benninger, who is a licensed gaming operator in multiple states and territories and has served on numerous corporate boards such as Caesars Entertainment.
The central Clairvest firm acquired a minority share in the property worth $19 million, while one of its managed equity funds took the majority stake at $71 million.
In an official statement, Michael Wagman, president and a managing director of Clairvest Group, said: “The Clairvest team is excited by the growth prospects at Delaware Park. We look forward to partnering with Thomas Benninger, an experienced gaming investor, to continue the stewardship of this unique property”.
The property consists of over 100,000 square feet gaming space. Is a multifaceted gaming facility that offers guests live seasonal thoroughbred racing, year-round simulcasting from around the globe, more than 2,300 slot machines on two levels and a sports betting parlor.
The Rickman family acquired it in 1983 when it was at threat of closure, facing increased competition of racetracks in neighboring states. Delaware Park later benefitted from the 1995 legalization of slot machines and subsequently table games and parlay sports betting in 2009. Following the 2018 Supreme Court ruling, Delaware was the first state to offer live sports betting outside of New Jersey or Nevada, further increasing its gambling revenue.
It is the only casino located in New Castle Country, and the only thoroughbred track in the state, with races from May to October. In 2020, the casino saw about $3.2 million in net gaming revenue.
The Rickman family also sold their other property, the Oceans Down in Maryland, five years ago to a joint venture by the owners of the Saratoga Springs racetracks in New York and Churchill Downs in Kentucky.
The owners have been looking to divest the casino for about a year, listing its Kirkwood Highway administrative offices for sale in January 2020. The current asking price for that 12-acre property is $6.45 million.
Upon closing, Delaware Park would be the 30th casino/racino in which Clairvest has held an ownership interest and Clairvest’s 14th platform investment in the gaming industry.