Bloomberg: Cleveland Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert Wants to Sell Casino Holdings

Posted on: September 6, 2018, 04:00h. 

Last updated on: September 6, 2018, 03:20h.

Dan Gilbert is best known for founding Quicken Loans and owning the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA franchise. But the billionaire is also a casino owner, and according to a report from Bloomberg, he may be looking to leave the gaming business in the near future.

Dan Gilbert casinos selling
Bloomberg is reporting that Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is looking to sell off his casino properties. (Image: AP)

Citing sources familiar with Gilbert’s plans, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that he is looking to sell off the properties owned by Jack Entertainment, the Detroit-based company that has an interest in six casinos and racetracks.

Former Partner Caesars May Have Interest

Gilbert who serves as the chairman of Jack Entertainment (formerly known as Rock Gaming), began investing into casinos in 2009 when he supported a ballot initiative that legalized casino gambling in Ohio. In 2012, he opened a casino in downtown Cleveland that is now known as Jack Cleveland Casino.

Since that time, Jack Entertainment has acquired five other properties, including the Greektown Casino-Hotel in Detroit.

According to the sources cited in the Bloomberg report, one of the potential bidders for some or all of these properties could be Caesars Entertainment. A deal between the two parties would make sense: Caesars partnered with Gilbert in the past, and his casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati carried the Horseshoe brand name until he bought out Caesars’ stake in the properties three years ago.

According to Bloomberg, Jack Entertainment is being represented by Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse in the search for buyers. However, neither the banks nor Caesars was willing to comment on the report, and Gilbert’s firm was equally tight-lipped.

“It is Jack Entertainment’s long-standing policy to not comment on rumors or speculation,” the firm said in a statement released Wednesday.

Gilbert Looks to Sell High

The report did not state a clear reason for Gilbert’s interest in exiting the gaming industry. However, it did point out that his casinos in Ohio rank only third and fourth in the state in terms of revenue despite their prime locations and recent efforts to attract millennials with innovations like electronic table games arenas.

But even with those middling results, Gilbert may now be able to sell high on his properties. The global gaming industry is still seeing a wave of mergers and acquisitions, while the Supreme Court decision that struck down the federal ban on new state-level sports betting regulations has provided another potential attraction and revenue stream for resorts.

Gilbert is best known to the public for owning several Ohio-based professional sports franchises. While the Cavaliers are by far the most notable, he also owns the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League and the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena Football League. Gilbert also operates the Quicken Loans Arena, which is the home venue for those three teams.

Gilbert’s time as an NBA owner hasn’t been without controversy. Famously, he published a blistering open letter to LeBron James after the superstar decided to leave the Cavaliers and sign with the Miami Heat in 2010. Gilbert was slapped with a $100,000 fine by NBA commissioner David Stern for the remarks.