Gaming and Leisure Properties Paying Special Dividend

Gaming and Leisure Properties (NASDAQ:GLPI) said today it’s paying a special dividend to investors — the latest sign shareholder rewards are returning in the gaming industry.

GLPI dividend
GLPI dividend
The M Resort in Henderson, Nevada. Owner Gaming and Leisure Properties announced a special dividend today. (Image: Gaming and Leisure Properties)

The gaming real estate investment trust (REIT) said after the close of US markets today it’s delivering a special payout of 24 cents a share on January 7, 2022 to shareholders of record on December 27, 2021.

While the Company intends to pay regular quarterly cash dividends, all subsequent dividends, including regular quarterly dividends and special earnings and profits dividends, will be reviewed and declared by the Board of Directors at its discretion,” according to a statement issued by the Pennsylvania-based REIT.

Special dividends are one-off payments to investors. In the case of GLPI, the aforementioned distribution is in addition to its current quarterly payout of 67 cents a share. As of the close of markets today, shares of GLPI yield 5.81 percent, or more than 400 basis points in excess of the Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Capped Index.

GLPI Steady 2021

This year, GLPI is a solid though not spectacular performer as highlighted by a year-to-date gain of 8.8 percent.

GLPI owns the property assets of 48 gaming venues across 16 states. Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) is the landlord’s largest tenant, but it’s growing its client base. Earlier this month, the REIT said it’s paying $1.81 billion to acquire the property assets of Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland, Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia, and Live! Casino Pittsburgh from the Cordish Companies.

Other GLPI tenants include Bally’s (NYSE:BALY), Boyd Gaming (NYSE:BYD) and Caesars Entertainment.

Spun off from Penn in 2013, GLPI pioneered gaming REITs as standalone publicly traded companies. Rivals MGM Growth Properties (NYSE:MGP) and VICI Properties followed in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Those two companies are merging, meaning that when that transaction is completed, GLPI and VICI will stand as the only two publicly traded gaming REITs in the US.

Shareholder Rewards Trickling Back in Gaming Space

Many of the casino operators that paid dividends prior to the coronavirus pandemic have yet to restore those payouts, but there are mounting signs industry balance sheets are paving the way for increasing shareholder rewards.

Red Rock Resorts, Inc. (NASDAQ:RRR) recently declared a $3 per share special dividend while repurchasing more than $350 million of its own shares. International Game Technology (NYSE:IGT) and Melco Resorts & Entertainment (NASDAQ:MLCO), among others, also recently revealed buyback programs.

Earlier this week, GLPI rival MGP said it’s raising its annual dividend $2.10 a share from $2.08, marking the 16th time that REIT boosted its payout since going public in 2016.

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