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08/03/2022 | by Sarah Borchersen-Keto

Governance principles and practices put in place when VICI Properties Inc. (NYSE: VICI) was founded in 2017 were instrumental in accelerating the institutionalization of the gaming real estate asset class, says CEO Ed Pitoniak.

VICI Properties was the subject of a case study recently published by the Corporate Governance Research Initiative at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Pitoniak noted that the REIT had enjoyed a governance advantage by “starting with a blank sheet of paper.”

Creditors and shareholders of VICI Properties had made sure from the beginning that there was a high degree of alignment in terms of governance principles and practices, Pitoniak explained. “They handed governance over to us as a new board and management team. It did take an awful lot of work coming from square one, but it was a wonderful opportunity to set us on the path toward institutionalization.”

According to Pitoniak, “VICI had the opportunity to really propel the institutionalization of a new asset class, that being gaming real estate… To institutionalize an asset class, the company that is driving that institutionalization forward must itself be institutional in all its key qualities and that obviously starts with institutional quality governance.”

Among the many benefits of taking a deliberate approach to governance, Pitoniak cited “the comfort of knowing you’re doing the right things for all of your key stakeholders.”

Pitoniak also discussed some of the major events for VICI Properties in 2022 to date, including the elevation of the REIT to the S&P 500 and its attainment of investment grade status.