Land-BasedCasinoMergers & Acquisitions

Eldorado-Caesars merger officially completes following New Jersey approval

Eldorado Resorts has officially completed its $17.3bn acquisition of Caesars Entertainment.


Eldorado initially received approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission and has since been given the green light by the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC), Indiana Horse Racing Commission (IHRC) and New Jersey Casino Control Commission (NJCCC).

The IGC did, however, instruct the operator to sell three of its Indiana casinos before the end of the year as part of its approval.

The sales would ensure the new organisation, which would be run by Eldorado but maintain the Caesars name, controls less than the current 60% share of Indiana’s gaming revenue.

The $17.3bn acquisition was also approved by the IHRC last Monday, despite initial concerns expressed by the regulator.

The IHRC had originally said in a staff report it was "impossible" to offer "unqualified recommendation" for the approval of Eldorado's permit application.

The Commission staff said the operator is an “entity that is and has been clearly disinterested in horse racing industry since entering in 2014.” Ultimately, though, this did not prove an obstacle to securing IHRC approval.

Eldorado helped convince the IHRC by promising a long-term financial commitment to the state’s horsemen’s associations and to spend $20-25m over 10 years on track improvements.  Eldorado also agreed to 22 other financial recommendations.

Eldorado CEO Tom Reeg told commissioners: “We know you’re going to hold our feet to the fire.”

The NJCCC also delayed its eventual decision by two days but has since approved the historic deal.

The Eldorado – Caesars merger has been a long time in the making, having seen heavy speculation before activist investor Carl Icahn became Caesars’ largest individual shareholder and played a pivotal role in the transaction.

Confirmation of the merger agreement came in June 2019, while full shareholder approval arrived in November.

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