Eldorado-Caesars must sell three Indiana casinos to complete merger

Eldorado Resorts is one step closer to completing the merger and acquisition of Caesars Entertainment.

The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) has approved the proposed merger between Eldora Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, but has ordered the business to sell three Indiana casinos.

This news comes after the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) and Gaming Commission approved the deal.

Approval in Indiana

As both Caesars and Eldorado operate several casinos in the state of Indiana the IGC had some reservations about the deal.

Eldorado owns and operates Tropicana casino in Evansville, while Caesars operates Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, Horseshoe Hammond Casino, Caesars Southern Indiana Casino and Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.

The Commission said: “The impact of this unprecedented transaction is greater upon Indiana than any other state.”

The Commission noted that the combined Caesars and Eldorado business would control up to 60% of the state’s gaming revenue. Because of this, Eldorado voluntarily offered to divest two of its casinos in the state. However, the regulator said that it would need to divest three casino properties.

The IGC did not specify which casinos the business should divest. On top of this, the combined entity must not reduce staff numbers at its facilities for the next three years.

More approvals required

The deal still requires approval from several industry bodies.

The transfer of ownership for the Indiana Grand and Harrah’s Hoosier Park racinos require approval from the Indiana Horse Racing Commission. The deal also requires regulatory approval from the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.

The Eldorado-Caesars deal

Eldorado and Caesars both announced the deal last year and will see Eldorado pay $17.4bn to take ownership of Caesars. Eldorado will fund the acquisition with $7.2bn in cash and approximately 77m Eldorado common shares.

The Merger was subject several closing conditions which included securing regulatory approval from Nevada’s regulator. In November, shareholders from both operators approved the deal, while regulators in other states approved the merger.

Eldorado initially planned to complete the acquisition before the of H1 2020, but due to the market conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it is not clear when the deal will be finalised.

In June, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also approved the deal, after requiring Eldorado to sell two of its casino venues to Twin River Worldwide Holdings in jurisdictions where the merger was deemed uncompetitive.

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