Mergers and Acquisitions

Casino Union Members Authorize Strike at Eldorado Resorts Property in Florida

Members of a casino union in Florida have voted to authorize a strike at the Isle Casino Pompano, which is owned by Eldorado Resorts.

Casino union members in Florida have authorized a strike. (Image: Unite Here Local 355)

Unite Here Local 355, an affiliate of the nationwide Unite Here labor union that represents workers in the hotel, casino, and food service industries, have been in contract negotiations with Eldorado for more than a year. With new concerns raised following the Reno-based casino operator’s colossal $17.3 billion deal to acquire Caesars Entertainment, employees say they’ve had enough and are threatening to walk off the job.

I have worked at the casino for nearly seven years. I make $9.20 per hour. They made over $100 million in 2018, and our department lost so many workers in the layoff,” casino housekeeper Myrtho Bein-Aime said in a statement.

“We work harder for less pay, and they are making so much money. It’s just not fair,” she concluded.

The Isle Casino features nearly 1,500 slot machines and electronic table games. The racetrack venue doesn’t have a hotel, but does have meeting space and four restaurants. Unite Here didn’t say when the casino union might strike at the Pompano Beach venue.

Merger Cutbacks

Eldorado Resorts CEO Thomas Reeg wants to reduce Caesars’ operating expenses by around $500 million. Sources close to the financial reorganizing told the New York Post prior to the acquisition announcement that they didn’t believe he would be able to get to that number. The $17.3 billion proposal reveals Reeg believes he can.

But reducing corporate costs could come at the expense of fewer jobs.

“We will not stand by idly if the proposed Caesars-Eldorado transaction will lead to significant job losses, worse wages and benefits for our members, and lower state gaming tax receipts in the many communities where members we represent work and live,” Unite Here International President D. Taylor stated.

Unite Here represents around 400 workers employed at the Isle Casino.

Analysts Like Eldorado

Eldorado’s making a major bet on being able to turn around Caesars. If the merger goes through – which is expected to occur sometime in the second quarter of 2020 – the combined company would be the largest casino operator in the United States. Eldorado plans to assume the Caesars identity, and the group would have 81 properties in its portfolio.

Assuming there are no layoffs, the new Caesars would employ around 81,000 people. Unite Here has roughly 25,000 members who are employed by Caesars or Eldorado.

In a recent note, analysts at Deutsche Bank upped their forecast on Eldorado shares from $56 to $74 (NASDAQ: ERI).

“While ERI paid more than we had estimated in our deal analysis, we continue to believe the combined entity, from a financial perspective, harmonizes nicely and throws off considerable free cash flow, which, if valued properly relative to peers, implies meaningful upside in shares,” the note read.

In the interim, Eldorado and Caesars are considering selling one or two casinos located on the Las Vegas Strip. Billionaires Tilman Fertitta and Phil Ruffin have both expressed interest in expanding their gaming presence there.

Devin O'Connor

Gaming Legislation, Politics, Casino Business, Entertainment----Devin O’Connor’s passion for politics and background in the world of pop culture television give him insight into the gaming industry backstories that often drive news these days. After graduating from Penn State University with a theater arts degree, he worked at MTV Networks/Viacom from 2005 to 2010 as a writer and producer, where his credits included Total Request Live, New Year's Eve specials, and a special featuring poker superstar Daniel Negreanu. He later moved on to the HGTV/DIY Network, where he created, wrote, and produced three series specials: That's So House Hunters, That's So 80s, and That's So 90s. Devin came on board with Casino.org in 2014. He lives in Pennsylvania, and is an avid marathoner, having completed 15 races to date. Email: devin.oconnor@casino.org

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Devin O'Connor