Bally’s Closes on Tropicana Evansville Purchase, Establishes Presence in Indiana

Posted on: June 4, 2021, 10:39h. 

Last updated on: June 5, 2021, 06:42h.

Tropicana Evansville officially has a new owner. On Friday, both Caesars Entertainment and Bally’s Corp. announced the closing of a deal first announced in October. That deal allows Bally’s to take over gaming operations at the southern Indiana casino.

Tropicana Evansville Bally's
Bally’s Corp. and Caesars Entertainment announced Friday the closing on the sale of Tropicana Evansville. Caesars sold the Indiana casino to Bally’s and Gaming & Leisure Properties for $480 million (Image: Tropicana Evansville)

Gaming & Leisure Properties purchased the real estate, which it will lease to the Rhode Island-based gaming company for $28 million a year, with the potential for increases. The total purchase price was $480 million, with Bally’s portion at $140 million.

The closing is the latest milestone for the company formerly known as Twin River Worldwide Holdings. That company has undergone a massive expansion through acquisitions since the start of 2020.

Since that time, the company has purchased 11 casinos. Many of those came from Caesars and Eldorado Resorts, as the two companies needed to shed properties in order to get Eldorado’s takeover of Caesars approved.

Once all the transactions close, Bally’s will operate casinos in Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. It’s also building a land-based casino in State College, Penn.

The Tropicana Evansville acquisition closing marks another major accomplishment in what has already been a truly remarkable year for Bally’s,” company President and CEO George Papanier said in a statement.

Bally’s has also acquired sports betting platform provider Bet.Works and daily fantasy sports operator Monkey Knife Fight. In addition, Bally’s bought the naming rights to the regional sports networks owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group.

According to WEHT-TV, the casino closed Thursday at midnight. It reopened early Thursday afternoon after the Indiana Gaming Commission finished inspecting the gaming machines after the transaction closed.

Caesars Required to Sell

Caesars sold the Tropicana Evansville because the IGC ordered it to sell three of its five Indiana properties as a condition of approving the Eldorado takeover.

After Caesars announced the Tropicana sale, it then reached an agreement to sell Caesars Southern Indiana to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians for $250 million in December.

Caesars also plans to divest Horseshoe Hammond by the end of this year.

Bally’s Sports Betting Slated for Indiana

Bally’s plans to become a licensed sports betting operator in Indiana. As part of the deal with Caesars, it received sports betting rights to the casino. Those rights include the three mobile skins that come with the license.

Bally’s online sports betting app could launch in Indiana by later this year.

Bally Bet is already available in Colorado. Besides Indiana, the company plans to offer sports betting in Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

A rebranding of the casino under the Bally’s label also could take place later this year. If that happens, it would be the second time the casino has been renamed. It originally opened in 1995 as the Casino Aztar, the first riverboat casino to open in the state. It became a Tropicana casino in 2013 and moved to a land-based venue in 2017.