Gilbert spokesperson: No plans to buy Detroit Tigers after selling Greektown Casino

Posted at 4:55 PM, Nov 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-14 17:13:22-05

When it was announced that JACK Entertainment, which is owned by Dan Gilbert, would be selling Greektown Casino for $1 billion, speculation ran wild about what that might mean for Gilbert.

Many people wondered if that meant Gilbert was going to expand his portfolio of sports teams by adding a Detroit team.

Instead, Matt Cullen, the CEO of Jack Entertainment, tells 7 Action News there are no plans to buy the Tigers.

"The Ilitches are on record that they intend to be long-term holders of the Tigers. Dan's on the record there are no conversations," Cullen told 7 Investigator Jim Kiertzner.

And what about buying the Detroit Lions?  Cullen answers with a bit of a laugh, "We’ll stay away from the Ford family and their long-term ownership as well. Seriously, this wasn’t to buy a team."

According to Cullen, it was just the right time to sell the team.

"We had an opportunity to take advantage of a really good pricing market and were able to achieve a good price," he said.

Penn National Gamic Inc., based in Wymossing, Pennsylvania, and New-York based VICI Properties Inc. are the buyers. 

VICI Properties will acquire the land and real estate assets of the casino for approximately $700 million, and Penn National will acquire the operating assets for $300 million.

Gilbert bought Greektown in 2013, but there have been reports throughout the year that he has been looking to sell the casino.

According to a release from JACK Entertainment, Gilbert and his companies are instead looking to invest in more Detroit real estate.

Our purchase of Greektown Casino-Hotel five and a half years ago, soon after its bankruptcy, allowed us to work with the great team at the property to create a winning culture and a vibrant business," Gilbert said in a release. “The sale to Penn National and VICI Properties will allow that strong trajectory to continue and provide additional capital to continue our strategic investments in our Detroit real estate and business initiatives.”