News broke recently that Caesars Entertainment was looking to sell the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The property has been a staple in the region for decades and has an established presence among visitors, offering quality gaming options including the popular WSOP tournament series. The sale of the property is now one step closer to coming to fruition as the Federal Trade Commission has now signed off on the deal involving Imperial Companies of New York City.
It has been speculated for quite some time that Caesars was looking to sell the Rio and now a buyer has been found. A company controlled by a principal of Imperial Companies is looking to purchase the casino for just over $516 million.
The new owner is set to lease the property back to Caesars for a minimum of two years. Based on the agreement, Caesars will pay $45 million a year in rent. The owner can then choose to extend the lease for up to one additional year. They can also choose to not extend the lease but must alert Caesars of their decision before the end of the first year within the term.
The deal now needs approval from shareholders and regulators to move forward.
The WSOP Decision
The Rio first opened in 1990 and has been a staple in Las Vegas. Since 2004, the property has played host to the World Series of Poker and players cannot imagine the series moving anywhere else. Many are now wondering what will happen to the WSOP and if it will move to a new location.
Days after the potential sale was announced, Seth Palansky, the Vice President of Corporate Communications for the WSOP, stated that the WSOP will continue at the Rio in 2020. According to Palansky, the convention space has been booked at the Rio in 2020 and it will most likely take place there in 2021 as well.
It has been rumored that the WSOP might move once the Caesars Forum convention center opens up in 2020. The property cost $375 million to create and would have ample space for the series to take place. Moving the series would involve a great deal of work as employees of the chosen venue will have to learn how the tournament series works as well as deal with tens of thousands of poker players over a two-month time frame.
The deal to sell the Rio comes at a busy time for Caesars. The company is also trying to complete a merger with Eldorado Resorts. The merger has a price tag of $17.3 million and should close by next year. Once completed, the deal will create the largest casino operation in the US that will include close to 60 properties in nineteen different states in the US.
It will be interesting to watch as the brand moves forward with these deals and any potential changes in the future. Caesars Entertainment Corp. continues to be a force to reckon with in the US and they are showing no signs of slowing down.