Maverick Gaming has sold its Macau Casino in Lakewood, Wash. for $22.1 million, according to county records. The buyer was Chicago-based real estate investment firm Oak Street Real Estate Capital. The transaction was recorded on Sept. 20, but took place on Sept. 2.
The Macau is a 10,747-square-foot property on 2.8 acres at 9811 S. Tacoma Way. Maverick more than tripled its money on the deal, having purchased the casino in 2019 for $6 million.
Maverick – headquartered in Kirkland, Wash. – currently operates 18 card rooms in Washington State, in addition to 10 in Northern Nevada and four in Colorado. It was founded in 2017 by Eric Persson, former Global Senior Vice President of Slots at Las Vegas Sands, and Justin Beltram, former Vice President of Slots at Bellagio and Marina Bay Sands.
Maverick has been embroiled in a legal battle over sports betting in its home state since it filed a federal lawsuit in January. That action challenged an alleged sports betting monopoly that was held there by tribal casino operators. Its suit was temporarily halted in March, after Maverick and Washington asked that the state be dropped from the suit, rendering the issue exclusively federal.
Oak Street Real Estate, founded in 2009 by Mark Zahr, specializes in sale-leasebacks. It acquires real estate from struggling retailers, then rents it back to them. According Reuters, it has completed such deals with Bed Bath & Beyond and Big Lots, and last month bid $1.5-2 billion to acquire an unknown number of Kohl’s Corp.’s 1,100 department stores.
Oak Street was purchased by Blue Owl Capital Inc. last year in a deal estimated by Bloomberg News to be worth $1.6 billion.
Hot Water Under the Bridge
Maverick acquired the Macau after its previous owners were stripped of their gaming licenses following a three-year investigation into alleged loansharking and money laundering by the Washington State Gambling Commission.
The commission and the Tukwila Police Department opened their investigation in 2016 after complaints were made about illegal activities at the Macau Casino’s Lakewood and Tukwila properties. According to a commission statement, a publicly unnamed, 45-year-old female employee regularly brought large bags containing $20 bills into the casinos. She allegedly gave the money to suspected co-conspirators to buy-in on games.
“They would play for a brief period of time before cashing out for $100 bills,” the commission’s statement added. “The suspect also loaned cash and chips to casino patrons and charged exorbitant interest rates on the loans.”
The previous owners agreed to compensate the commission $1.25 million to cover the costs of the investigation, Casino.org reported at the time. The scheme led to the alleged laundering of $1.5 million via the casino.
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