Churchill Downs buying Riverwalk for $141 million

Published 12:28 am Saturday, October 6, 2012

Riverwalk’s Vicksburg casino hotel management said there will be no major changes following the casino’s acquisition by Louisville, Ky.-based Churchill Downs Inc.

Churchill Downs announced Friday that it is buying the Vicksburg casino and hotel for $141 million in cash.

The company said the agreement is contingent on receiving a state gaming license. The deal is expected to close by year’s end.

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Churchill Downs also owns Harlow’s Casino Resort & Hotel in Greenville.

“We will not lose any employees,” Riverwalk general manager Rob Long said Friday afternoon. “The sale will not affect us at all. We’ve been successful under Riverwalk and we will be successful under the new owners.”

Riverwalk and Rush Street Gaming chief executive officer Greg Carlin said operations at the company’s remaining casinos in the U.S. and Canada are not affected by the deal.

Riverwalk Casino, 1046 Warrenton Road, opened in 2008 as Vicksburg’s fifth casino, and the first new casino in 14 years. Located on 22 acres of land, the casino and hotel employs 392 people and has two restaurants. The casino has 25,000 square feet of gaming space with an attached five-story, 80-room hotel.

“We are excited to have another property in the business-friendly state of Mississippi to add to our Harlow’s Casino Resort & Hotel property in Greenville, located 90 miles north of Riverwalk along the Mississippi River,” CDI chairman and chief executive officer Robert L. Evans said in a press release announcing the acquisition.

“Riverwalk is an attractive investment for CDI as it is a newer facility with superior design, high quality amenities and is operated by an outstanding team of employees with whom we look forward to working in the near future,” he said.

Planning for Riverwalk began in 2005, and at one time the names Magnolia Hills and Pot of Gold were considered for the development. Ground breaking for the casino was in July 2007. The casino is operated by Magnolia Hill LLC.

Built on the Mississippi River, Riverwalk remained open with Ameristar Casino during the spring 2011 flood, when the Mississippi reached record heights in Vicksburg, cresting on May 19 at 57.1, 14.1 feet above flood stage and nine-tenths of a foot above the great flood of 1927.