Nevada Regulators Taking up Eldorado/Caesars Combo July 8, Indiana, New Jersey to Follow

Posted on: July 2, 2020, 02:52h. 

Last updated on: July 3, 2020, 02:41h.

Eldorado Resorts’ (NASDAQ:ERI) more than year-long quest to acquire Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR) could reach the finish line this month. Regulators in Nevada, Indiana and New Jersey are scheduled to weigh in on the deal.

Eldorado Deal May Close As States Convene
Members of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) seen here at a 2018 hearing. The regulator and counterparts in two other states are scheduled to discuss the Eldorado/Caesars deal this month. (Image: David Calvert/Nevada Independent)

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) and the Gaming Commission (NGC) are slated to discuss the $17.3 billion takeover at July 8 meetings. An agenda for the July 8 NGCB meeting obtained by confirms the Eldorado/Caesars combination is on the docket.

On July 10, the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) will consider the transaction before the Indiana Horse Racing Commission (IHRC) takes up the matter three days later. Hoosier State regulators previously expressed some concerns with the deal, which they attributed to Eldorado’s perceived lack of pari-mutuel experience. Those issues are resolved and it’s expected both Indiana agencies will approve the acquisition.

The New Jersey Casino Control Commission (NJCCC) is likely to vote on ERI’s purchase of Caesars on July 15, according to media reports.

Should Be Smooth Sailing

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved the deal, potentially making life easier for the aforementioned states.

Prior to the FTC giving the go-ahead for Eldorado to acquire Caesars, sources told that Indiana, Nevada and New Jersey were likely waiting for the federal regulator to have its say on the matter. The sources said it’s easier for states to consider large-scale mergers and acquisitions after the FTC does so, and decreases the likelihood of a state issuing an opinion counter to that of the federal commission.

The sources added that the larger a gaming deal is, the more likely the Silver and Garden states are to wait on the FTC before issuing their own rulings.

Should ERI gain approvals from Nevada, Indiana, and New Jersey by July 15, that would easily beat the four- to six-week post-FTC approval timeline some experts floated.

Happily Complying

Earlier today, ERI said it wrapped up the sale of the Isle of Capri Casino in Kansas City, Mo. to Twin River Worldwide Holdings (NYSE:TRWH), a move the FTC wanted to avoid competitive imbalance in that market.

The regional gaming company is also in the process of divesting assets in Louisiana and Northern Nevada to comply with FTC requests.

Analysts aren’t forecasting forced sales by Silver State regulators because prior to acquiring Caesars. ERI had no Las Vegas footprint. The Reno-based company said it could sell one or two Caesars Sin City venues in the future.

When Eldorado unveiled its $17.3 billion offers for the Caesars Palace operator in June 2019, speculation swirled about potential regulatory pitfalls on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, where the combined company would have owned four of nine casinos.

At that time, the consensus view was that the NJCCC would not favor a closure in the name of moving ahead with a merger. Caesars found a fix, saying in April it will sell Bally’s Atlantic City to TRWH for $25 million.