One of the biggest deals ever in the casino industry moved one big step closer to closing. The final hurdle facing Eldorado Resorts’ proposed acquisition of Caesars Entertainment Corp. was approval from the New Jersey Casino Control Commission with online casino giants like BetRivers, Borgata, and Unibet already operating in the state.
Following two days of hearings on the matter, the Commission gave its approval to the $17.3 billion deal. The positive vote took place on Friday, July 17. Given the size of the deal and the actual casinos involved, it has been a long and arduous process. Approval from multiple states including Indiana and Nevada was also necessary.
The final conclusion in the New Jersey casino hearings was that this new casino giant would not control the gaming business against competition. Indiana’s approval came with the stipulation of selling off three of the properties involved.
Closing on the deal could be just days away. Eldorado can trace its company roots back to 1973. Its gaming empire started with a single family-owned casino in Reno, Nevada. With the addition of Caesars Entertainment, the new company will have ownership interests in 52 properties across 16 US states.
Prominent casinos located on the famous Las Vegas Strip include Caesars Palace, Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood, Flamingo and LINQ. Also included in the deal are casino properties in Canada, the United Kingdom, Egypt, and Asia’s gambling mecca Macau. Though the deal includes land-based casinos, online casinos such as Pala, SugarHouse, and Resorts Casino are also experiencing great success,
Terms of the deal call for a buy back of Caesars’ stock at a price of $12.30 per share. The cash portion is $8.70 with the rest in shares of Eldorado.
The biggest single shareholder of the new company will be billionaire investor Carl Icahn. His stake adds up to more than 10 percent. He acquired a significant amount of stock when Caesars emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2017.
Eldorado CEO Thomas Reeg told Nevada regulators that Eldorado will own 56 percent of the merged company. The stock will continue to trade under the business entity Caesars Entertainment Inc. At the close of trading on Friday, July 17, Eldorado’s share price was $39.01. Caesars closed at $12.39.
The Federal Trade Commission gave its final approval on June 26. As part of the terms, Eldorado agreed to sell various properties in Kansas City, South Lake Tahoe, and Shreveport, Louisiana to gain approval.
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One FTC commissioner still voted no. The main concern was the new company’s projected debt of close to $13 billion. That debt is owed to VICI Properties and Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. as another real estate investment trust.
As part of the New Jersey plan, Eldorado will sell Bally’s Atlantic City for $25 million. That hotel and casino will be purchased by Twin River Worldwide Holdings out of Rhode Island. The other three (Caesars, Harrah’s, and Tropicana) must remain open for the next five years.