Merger of casino giants wins Federal Trade Commission approval

by Administrator

The Federal Trade Commission has given its blessing to a $17.3 billion merger of two casino giants that will bring five of Indiana's 13 state-regulated gaming facilities, including Hammond's Horseshoe Casino, under the control of a single owner.

Caesars Entertainment Corp. announced Friday it won FTC approval of a consent order for Caesar's merger with Eldorado Resorts, Inc. that satisfies all federal antitrust clearances required for the merger.

The FTC agreement mandates Eldorado divest one casino in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada, another in Bossier City-Shreveport, Louisiana, and to follow through on its planned sale of a casino in Kansas City, Missouri.

The merger still requires sign off by the Indiana Gaming Commission, Indiana Horse Racing Commission, Nevada Gaming Control Board, Nevada Gaming Commission and New Jersey Casino Control Commission before it can be completed.

The Indiana Gaming Commission is scheduled July 10 to review, and likely approve, the merger. Action by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission is set for July 13.

"We are pleased that the FTC's approval of our planned merger with Eldorado paves the way for securing the remaining consents and approvals from regulators in Indiana, Nevada and New Jersey," said Tony Rodio, CEO of Caesars Entertainment.

"All of us at Caesars are committed to completing the merger, which is expected to create the largest U.S. gaming company."

The combined Eldorado-Caesars company — which will carry the Caesars name — is uniting some 60 casinos across 16 states.

In Indiana, where Caesars already owns the Hammond Horseshoe and Horseshoe Southern Indiana casinos, and the Indiana Grand and Harrah's Hoosier Park racinos near Indianapolis, it will add Eldorado's Tropicana Casino in Evansville.

The five properties together generated nearly 60% of the $590.8 million in gaming taxes paid to the state during the 2019 budget year, according to the Indiana Gaming Commission.

State law allows a single casino company to own up to six gaming properties in the Hoosier State.

In Illinois, Eldorado owns the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, while Caesars owns Harrah's Joliet and Harrah's Metropolis casinos.