- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 4, 2021

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A California tribe announced Tuesday that it is buying the Palms Casino Resort off the Las Vegas Strip.

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is expected to acquire the 700-room Palms for $650 million from Red Rock Resorts later this year, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. It will be the second tribal enterprise to enter the Las Vegas market this year; Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment opened a casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas in March.

“Today represents an important step for the tribe and its long-term economic diversification strategy,” San Manuel Chairman Ken Ramirez said in a news release. “On behalf of the tribe, we are thankful for the opportunity to join a community that we have come to know and appreciate.”

The tribe has made several donations to organizations across Nevada recently, including a $9 million contribution to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ William F. Harrah College of Hospitality and William S. Boyd School of Law to support tribal gaming operations and law education.

The tribe operates its flagship San Manuel Casino in Highland, California, as well as several hotels throughout California and an office building in Washington, D.C.

Red Rock Resorts Inc. bought the Palms in 2016 for $312.5 million and sunk more than $620 million into renovations, the Las Vegas Sun reported. The casino-resort has been shuttered since March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic closed gambling businesses.

“The purchase price comes in below RRR’s nearly (tilde)$1B total investment, but we believe (Wall) Street had largely written the property off given recent underperformance and its COVID-related closure,” gambling industry analyst Barry Jonas said in a note to investors Tuesday.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

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