The Rickman Family will no longer own Delaware Park Racetrack for the first time in almost four decades, although it once helped the property deal with the financial difficulties and made it a worthy rival of neighboring operators.
The family sold the casino and racetrack business to Clairvest Group Inc., a Canada-based private equity firm and Rubico Gaming LLC, a new subsidiary linked to investor Thomas Benninger, who is already involved in a number of gaming and casino operators.
Bill Fasy, President of Delaware Park, said he was not aware of any immediate operational changes and declined to make commentary on the price of the property sale. According to a press release issued a couple of days ago, the deal is expected to be finalized by the end of 2021.
Mr. Fast revealed that Delaware Park will be the 30th casino and racetrack Clairvest has made an investment in, while Rubico Gaming has recently taken over the Louisiana Downs racetrack and casino. As revealed in the official press release of Delaware Park’s President, the Rickman Family will keep their control over the White Clay Creek Country Club, which is adjacent to the racetrack property.
This is not the first sale of a casino and racetrack property by the Rickmans. Five years ago, the Rickman Family sold the Maryland-based Ocean Downs casino and harness racing track, which they acquired back in 2000.
Delaware Park Racetrack among the Three Casino and Racetrack Properties in the State
Purchased by William Rickman Sr. in 1983, Delaware Park Racetrack turned from a business at the brink of extinction, pressed by the harsh competition for some neighboring racetrack properties, the casino and racetrack managed to become a thriving business under the ownership of the Rickman Family. As the property’s President revealed, the Rickman Family was approached by Clairvest about a year ago, so following some negotiations the next generation of the family decided to dispose of the property and focus on their real estate business.
Delaware Park Racetrack once started operation as the only major track on the East Coast that offered races in June, except for the New York-based Aqueduct. Increased competition in the 1970s, however, put the business on its knees, and it had fallen into financial ruin by the time when it was bought by William Rickman Sr.
However, Mr. Rickman managed to bring a new life to the business, which started going up and competition improved in 1996 when slot machines were officially allowed in the state. Currently, the signature competition held at the Delaware Park Racetrack, the Delaware Handicap, is the largest thoroughbred horse race that takes place in the state.
For the past two decades, the business of Delaware Park Racetrack has been going back and forth as it faced rivalry from some new casino venues established in the region. Currently, there are three casino and racetrack properties in the state of Delaware – Delaware Park Racetrack, Harrington Raceway and Casino, and Dover Downs Hotel and Casino.