Maverick Gaming cemented its status as the dominant card room operator in Washington State by paying $80.47 million in cash for rival Evergreen Gaming.
Evergreen operated four card rooms in the state: Chips Casino in Lakewood, Goldies Casino in Shoreline, Palace Casino in Lakewood and Riverside Casino in Tukwila. With the acquisition, Maverick runs 31 gaming venues in Colorado, Nevada and Washington State.
Strategically this acquisition is crucial to Maverick’s continued dominance in Washington State. We expect there to be enormous consolidation as well as operational and marketing benefits to our company as a result of this transaction. Maverick will move swiftly to integrate these two companies in all aspects, and we expect to see benefits from this purchase by January,” said Maverick CEO Erik Persson in a statement.
Persson and co-founder Justin Beltram previously worked for Las Vegas Sands. Both Maverick and Evergreen are privately held companies.
Maverick Major Card Room Player in Washington
Maverick has been acquisitive in Washington, scooping up more than card rooms there over the past several years year and the company could add to that roster in the future, which would likely bolster the ranks of union members among its employees.
With the acquisition of Evergreen Gaming, Maverick runs about half the state’s card rooms. In terms of gaming regulations, the primary differences between Washington’s card rooms and tribal casinos are twofold. First, only tribal venues can have slot machines. Second, dealers at card rooms act as the bank, not the house. The venue makes money by levying a fee tied to the table limit on each hand played.
While the menu of gaming offerings differ, tribal operators in various states are often at odds with card rooms and, in some cases, tribal casino entities look to pull political levers to make operating conditions difficult for competitors.
In September, Maverick sold the Macau Casino in Lakewood, Wash. to Oak Street Real Estate Capita for $22.1 million.
Maverick, Tribes Butting Heads Over Sports Betting
Washington State permits sports wagering, but only on the premises of and near tribal casinos. Maverick took issue with what it believes to be erroneous application Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), suing to make the state’s sports betting market more competitive. However, that effort was halted in federal court earlier this year.
It remains to be seen what happens next in that rift, but it is clear that Washington State isn’t a significant player in the US sports betting arena. Rather, the state is an afterthought because the tribes refuse to compete and offer mobile betting.
“Maverick Gaming assets include over 360 Tables, 2700 Slot Machines, 1300 Hotel Rooms, 50 restaurants and approximately 3500 team members. Maverick’s debt is rated BBB- by Moody’s and S&P and is super majority owned by Persson and COO Beltram who collectively have over 40 years’ experience in gaming,” according to the statement.
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