Eldorado Resort Inc. has been looking to acquire Caesars Entertainment Corporation’s properties in Indiana, and they were finally given official approval on Friday. The Indiana Gaming Commission unanimously voted to approve the merger, but they did come up with several guidelines that will have to be met.
The company must have agreements in place by the end of the year to sell three of its current properties in the state. The company must also agree to keep the same level of employment at all of its other properties for three years.
The Indiana Gaming Commission will be working with Eldorado to come up with a plan for all of the workers that have been furloughed during the pandemic.
The agreement is worth $17.3 billion, and the newly formed company will have control of three of the biggest casinos in the state. These casinos include Caesars Southern Indiana, Horseshoe Hammond, and Tropicana Evansville.
The Indiana Racing Commission will also have the power to grant the new company control over Indiana Grand and Harrah’s Hoosier Park. These are racinos that are located in the state of Indiana, and they require approval from both groups.
The new company will need to sell at least three properties to stay below owning 50 percent of all slots, and 50 percent of all gaming revenue that is earned in the state. Eldorado will own almost 56 percent of the new company with this deal, and Tom Reeg will serve as the new CEO of Caesars.
Southern Indiana Likely to Lose Casinos
Even though the agreement calls for the selling of three casinos, the new company could get away with selling just two properties. Eldorado is expected to target a pair of casinos in Southern Indiana to sell as they don’t want to lose out on the Chicagoland area market.
Tropicana Evansville and Caesars Southern Indiana are the two most logical candidates to be sold, but the vote from the Indiana Racing Commission will play a huge role. Eldorado is hoping that they are granted approval to take over both Indiana Grand and Hoosier Park.
Hammond would likely be the third casino put on the market if needed because the new company will focus its efforts on moving the casino boats in Gary inland. Eldorado is hoping to sell one property within the first six months of this deal, and the next property will be sold within 12 months.
The Indiana Gaming Commission is worried that the vote from the Indiana Racing Commission will cause a delay in this process, and they noted that they can always come back and take another vote if necessary.
Racinos Set to Expand
One of the biggest reasons that the IGC voted to approve this merger is because Eldorado is set to invest some big money in the racinos. Representatives from Eldorado promised to invest close to $60 million in the racinos in Anderson and Shelbyville.
Racinos were allowed to start offering table games as of Jan. 1 due to the expanding gaming bill that went into effect on that date. The racinos packed as many table games as possible into these facilities, and Eldorado is hoping to expand the gaming floors at each location.
The two racinos are the only gambling locations near the capital city of Indianapolis, and that is a big reason that Eldorado wants to keep these facilities. Even though new casinos will be built throughout the state, none are planned for Indianapolis.
The Indiana Racing Commission has expressed some concern over this merger, and their vote will determine what happens with the new Eldorado.