Delaware Park will soon have a new owner for the first time in almost four decades.
The renowned pure-bred horse racetrack and casino in Wilmington is being sold to Canadian private equity company Clairvest Group and Rubico Gaming LLC. Rubico is a gaming facility managed by Thomas Benninger, Global Leveraged Capital Advisors founder and a former Caesars Entertainment board member.
Delaware Park is being sold by the Rickman family, whose late patriarch William Rickman Sr. purchased the racetrack in 1983. No acquisition price was announced.
A release from the involved entities said the sale is expected to close before the end of the year. The acquisition does not include the casino’s White Clay Country Club, which will remain under the ownership of the Rickman family.
“The family felt this was the right time to sell,”
Delaware Park President Bill Fasy said, speaking to Delaware Online.
Rickman Sr. Died in 2005. His son, William Rickman Jr., has managed the casino and racetrack’s operations since 1993. However, now in his mid-70s, the younger Rickman is willing to pass the racino on to new owners. In addition, the Rickmans previously owned Ocean Downs in Maryland but sold the Eastern Shire casino to Churchill Downs in 2017.
Delaware’s prominent Du Pont family opened Delaware Park in 1937. It thrived during its first decades but got into financial hardship in the 1970s due to increased competition. Rickman Sr. managed to swirl the track profitable after taking it over, while Rickman Jr. brought casino sports betting to the facility in 1995, after state approval.
The 100,000 square-foot Delaware Park Casino currently contains more than 2,000 slot machines, 40 table games, a sportsbook, and a poker room.
Clairvest gaming expansion
Clairvest Group owns a privileged position in the Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment belt racetrack and FanDuel sportsbook. In addition, the Ontario-based company has invested in Chilean Gaming Holdings and the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino in Alberta.
Clairvest’s purchase of a stake in Delaware Park shows that the private equity group is optimistic about the US gaming industry. However, Clairvest has many magnificent gaming ambitions.
Clairvest seeks to construct a $4.3 billion integrated resort in Japan’s Wakayama. The officials chose Clairvest as its IR development partner during the summer.
In September, Clairvest revealed that Caesars Entertainment was joining the Wakayama consortium. If Japan’s federal government issues Wakayama one of the three IR licenses, Clairvest state Caesars will help design and run the gigantic resort complex once complete.
Rubico purchasing spree
Thomas Benninger has long ties to the US gaming industry. Apart from serving on the Caesars board, the entrepreneur and leveraged finance expert have served on the former Tropicana Entertainment and Affinity Gaming boards.
Benninger immensely helped billionaire Carl Icahn in overhauling the casino business terrain in recent years. In 2018, he helped lead Eldorado Resorts’ $1,85 billion takeovers of Tropicana Entertainment and then Caesars Entertainment’s reversal takeover of Eldorado the following year. The $17.3 billion mergers of Eldorado and Caesars was completed in 2020.
Through Rubico, Benninger is embarking on his strategy of gaming assets. In addition to investing in the Clairvest acquisition of Delaware Park, Rubico recently finished its $22 million purchase of Harrah’s Louisiana Downs racetrack and casino. Icahn bought most of his Caesar Entertainment shares at approximately $9.
Soon before Eldorado made its purchase offer, Caesars abandoned the pursuit of a casino-resort license on Australia’s Gold Coast. Earlier this year, the firm pulled out an integrated resort development on Yeon Jong Island in South Korea. At that time, Reeg Wryly stated the firm sold its stake in the Korea project for some barbecue pork.
Last Updated on by Ryan