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US – Nevada and Indiana give seal of approval to Eldorado/Caesars deal

By - 10 July 2020

The merger between Eldorado Resorts and Caesars Entertainment has received the green light from the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Indiana Gaming Commission paving the way for the completion of the $17.3bn deal to create an even bigger North American casino giant owning 55 casinos in 16 states and several other countries.

Gaming regulators at the Indiana Horse Racing Commission will now have to approve the $17.3bn deal, leaving only one approval needed from regulators in New Jersey.

The deal involves five casinos in Indiana; Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson, Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in Shelbyville, Horseshoe Hammond in Hammond, and Horseshoe Southern Indiana Hotel & Casino in Elizabeth, while the Reno-based Eldorado has only one property, Tropicana in Evansville.

Eldorado has already said it will sell up to two of these gaming properties, but the commission has said it must sell three with the casinos in Evansville, Elizabeth and Hammond likely to be sold.

Gary Carano, Eldorado Resorts Board Chairman, said: “There’s only one Caesars Palace. There’s only one Caesars Entertainment, a brand that’s known worldwide.”

Eldorado had to sell asinos in Kansas City, Missouri, South Lake Tahoe, California, and Louisiana to get the deal to progress. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a conditional approval for the merger but requested the divestment of properties in states where competition would be distorted by the deal.

Twin River bought Eldorado Shreveport Resort & Casino in Shreveport, Louisiana, and the MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa in Lake Tahoe for $155m. Whilst Isle of Capri in Kansas City, Missouri and Lady Luck Vicksburg in Vicksburg, Mississippi, were sold to Twin River for $230m.

“This deal, I believe, works,” Gaming Commissioner Steven Cohen said before his vote. “To get this deal done, in this economic climate, in this climate of COVID-19. Good for you. Good for the state. Good for gaming in the United States.”

Approval in coming days from regulators in Indiana and New Jersey would create the world’s largest casino operation, eclipsing MGM Resorts International.

Eldorado chief executive Thomas Reeg added: “You should expect us to focus on domestic gaming. We think what we’re good at is taking existing properties, optimising their operations, building a responsible capital structure and driving value for all of our stakeholders.”

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