Eldorado Resorts Inc. completed its $17.3 billion acquisition of Caesars Entertainment Corp. after overcoming a series of hurdles, including the worldwide pandemic, to become as the largest casino owner in the world.
The New Jersey Casino Control Commission finally approved the merger after two days of hearings with Eldorado executives. An antitrust analyst assured the commission that the deal will not concentrate too much of the local casino market. The new company will still be called Caesars Entertainment, but some are already calling it "New Caesars".
The Indiana Gaming Commission also approved the deal around the same time as Nevada regulators last week. Indiana regulators forced Eldorado and Caesars to sell three of its five properties in the Hoosier State.
Eldorado Resorts Inc. said that the combined company shall now own and operate 55+ casino properties across 16 American states, including eight resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.
Former CEO of Eldorado Resorts now CEO of Caesars Entertainment Inc. Tom Reeg said, "We are pleased to have completed this transformative merger." Reeg said they will welcome the combined company's tens of thousands of employees and aims to create value for stockholders using "strategic initiatives that will position the company for continued growth."
New Jersey's approval was the final hurdle that stood in the way of the merger. The Federal Trade Commission approved the plan back in June after Eldorado sold casinos in California, Louisiana, Missouri and South Lake Tahoe.
In an agreement with New Jersey regulators, the officials of Eldorado assured regulators that the company would not close its three Atlantic City casinos for at least five years and it will spend $400 million improving facilities over the next three years, and reinvest 5% of annual revenue in the years after that.
Once Bally's sale has been finalized, Caesars will own the Tropicana, Harrah's Atlantic City, and Caesars Atlantic City.
First announced in June 2019, the merger was indeed a huge leap for Eldorado, a once-small Nevada company that began in 1973 with a single hotel-casino in Reno.
After billionaire investor Carl Icahn said he bought 10% of Caesars Entertainment in February 2019, he started pushing for a sale of the casino company that filed for bankruptcy in late 2017. He helped install Tony Rodio as the new CEO of Caesars the next month, who helped Icahn sell Tropicana Entertainment Inc. to Eldorado for $1.85 billion.
The only obstacle left was regulator's approval for the merger to become a reality.
Eldorado bought a 51% controlling interest in Caesars at a $17.3 billion valuation. Paid in cash was $7.2 billion and the rest was accounted for through Eldorado stock.
The new Caesars corporate headquarters will be in Reno, but there will be a big corporate presence in Las Vegas.