Caesars given one more year to close Indiana casino

By Charlotte Lee Updated
Caesars given one more year to close Indiana casino

Caesars Entertainment has been granted a one year extension to sell its Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana.

NWI News reports that the Indiana Gaming Commission unanimously agreed to grant the extension, agreeing with IGC executive director Sara Tait that selling the Hammond casino right now “presents unique challenges,” including uncertainty over Illinois’ gaming expansion and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the industry.

She said “granting relief regarding divestiture timing is in the best interest of the state and local community and will not negatively impact operations at the property.”

In July, the Gaming Commission directed Caesars to sell three of its five Indiana casinos by December 31 to prevent an “undue economic concentration” of the state’s gaming industry following the $17.3 billion acquisition of the former Caesars Entertainment Corp by Eldorado Resorts.

The “new” Caesars already sold the Tropicana Casino in Evansville for $480 million in October and the company is currently in exclusive negotiations to sell the Caesars Southern indiana casino in Elizabeth by December 31.

Caesars plans to retain the two suburban Indianapolis horse track casinos, Harrah’s Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand.

Eldorado’s acquisition of Caesars is finalised

Eldorado, which started with a single hotel-casino in Reno in 1973 announced in July that it has completed a $17.3 billion buyout of Caesars Entertainment and will take the iconic company’s name going forward as the largest casino owner in the world.

Houma Today reported that Eldorado said the combined company will now own and operate more than 55 casino properties in 16 states across the US, including eight resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.

“We are pleased to have completed this transformative merger,” former chief executive officer of Eldorado Resorts and now chief executive officer of Caesars Entertainment Tom Reeg said.

Mr Reeg promised to welcome the combined company’s tens of thousands of employees and to create value for stakeholders using “strategic initiatives that will position the company for continued growth.”

The buyout also affects Caesars properties in the United Kingdom, Egypt, Canada, Dubai and a golf course in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau.

The company vaulted over MGM Resorts International as the world’s largest casino operation.

Trading under the Caesars stock symbol, CZR, will begin Tuesday, said Anthony Carano, company president and chief operating officer.

“We’re excited as a company and a family to lead such an iconic gambling company with 80,000 team members all over the country,” Mr Carano said.

The company plans to shed several properties to satisfy antitrust concerns raised before approvals were granted by the Federal Trade Commission and regulators in Indiana and New Jersey.

In Nevada, executives have said they may sell at least one Las Vegas Strip property.

Mr Carano acknowledged the combined company now carries $13 billion in debt and has billions in additional obligations to VICI Properties and another real estate investment trust, Gaming and Leisure Properties.

He said that the company was “in a great financial position as Caesars going forward from here” and will reduce debt.

Properties outside the US will likely be sold, he said.

The New Jersey Casino Control Commission approved the deal Friday, after the combined company announced plans to sell Bally’s Atlantic City.

That will leave Caesars Entertainment with three of nine casinos in Atlantic City: Caesars, Harrah’s and the Tropicana.

Executives promised federal regulators the company will sell sites in Kansas City, Missouri; South Lake Tahoe; California; and Shreveport, Louisiana.

Mr Reeg told Indiana regulators that casinos in Evansville and Elizabeth would likely be sold, with a sale of a casino in Hammond possible.

In Las Vegas, the combined company now owns Caesars Palace, Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood, Harrah’s Las Vegas, the Flamingo, Linq Hotel, Cromwell, Bally’s and the Rio off the Strip.

It will be one of the largest employers in Nevada.

Eldorado founder Dan Carano and his family developed a winemaking and casino empire that grew into 26 gambling properties and more than 18,000 employees in 12 states before the buyout.

Carano died in 2017, with his grandson Anthony now involved in company affairs. 

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