Posted: September 23, 2022, 5:26 a.m.
Last update on: September 23, 2022, 05:37h.
Maverick Gaming has sold its Macau casino in Lakewood, Washington 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 September 20, but took place on September 2.
The Macau is a 10,747 square foot property on 2.8 acres at 9811 S. Tacoma Way. Maverick more than tripled his money on the deal, having bought 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 his home state since filing a federal lawsuit in January. This action challenged an alleged sports betting monopoly held there by tribal casino operators. His lawsuit was temporarily halted in March, after Maverick and Washington requested that the state be removed from the suit, making the matter exclusively federal.
Oak Street Real Estate, founded in 2009 by Mark Zahr, specializes in sale-leaseback. It acquires real estate from struggling retailers and then leases it back to them. According Reuters, it struck such deals with Bed Bath & Beyond and Big Lots, and last month offered $1.5 billion to $2 billion to acquire an unknown 1,100 department stores from Kohl’s Corp.
Oak Street was purchased by Blue Owl Capital Inc. last year in a deal believed by Bloomberg News worth $1.6 billion.
Hot water below deck
Maverick acquired Macau after its former owners were stripped of their gambling licenses following a three-year investigation into allegations of loan sharking and money laundering by the Washington State Gambling Commission.
The commission and the Tukwila Police Department began their investigation in 2016 after complaints were filed about illegal activities at the Macau Casino’s Lakewood and Tukwila properties. According to a statement from the commission, an unnamed 45-year-old employee regularly brought large bags containing $20 bills to casinos. She allegedly gave the money to alleged co-conspirators to buy games.
“They would play for a brief period before cashing in $100 bills,” the commission statement added. “The suspect also lent cash and chips to casino patrons and charged exorbitant interest rates on the loans.”
The former owners have agreed to compensate the commission with $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 through the casino.