Eldorado Resorts Inc., has gained approval from three states in recent weeks, drawing the company closer to its pending acquisition of Caesars Entertainment Corporation. The deal was valued at $17.3 billion when it was announced in 2019.
Eldorado secured the green light from the Louisiana Racing Commission, the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission and the Illinois Gaming Board for the upcoming acquisition, the company revealed in a news release last week.
The company confirmed that it expects the transaction to be completed in the first half of 2020. Eldorado did note, though, it “remains subject to the receipt of all required regulatory approvals, and other closing conditions.”
When the deal is final it will create the largest gaming company in the U.S. market. Flying under the Caesars brand, the newly formed conglomerate would boast a combined 60 casinos across 16 separate states. This includes the Caesars-owned brands of Bally’s, Harrah’s, and Horseshoe casinos.
CEO of Eldorado Tom Reeg said, “Together, we will have an extremely powerful suite of iconic gaming and entertainment brands, as well as valuable strategic alliances with industry leaders in sports betting and online gaming.”
“The combined entity will serve customers in essentially every major U.S. gaming market and will marry best-of-breed practices from both entities to ensure high levels of customer satisfaction and significant shareholder returns.”
The total deal will see Eldorado invest $7.2 billion in cash and 77 million in stock shares, while taking on the Caesars’ current $9 billion debt. That’s good news for the embattled brand, which has been fighting to overcome financial difficulties recently.
Caesars famously declared bankruptcy in 2015 and formed Vici Properties to own several Caesars properties. As of 2019, Vici owns and leases 21 casinos, hotels, and racetracks back to the brand.
The industry as a whole has greeted the acquisition positively; however, it’s not all good news for gaming. One aspect of the merger regards the closure of the popular Bally’s casino in Atlantic City. The possible shutdown of Bally’s would result in the newly formed conglomerate controlling too much of the city’s industry for regulators’ liking.
Just last month, Eldorado also announced that it was selling off its casino in Shreveport, Louisiana, to Maverick Gaming. The facility, which employs 1,200 people, has seen revenues decline over recent years.
“The agreement to divest the Eldorado Shreveport is consistent with our continued focus on reducing debt ahead of the expected closing for the Caesars transaction in the first half of 2020,” Eldorado CEO Tom Reeg said, suggesting the gaming giant will continue to sell off smaller properties in a bid to concentrate its efforts once the deal has been finalized.