Eldorado Resorts Selling MontBleu Casino to Ease Lake Tahoe Overlap Concerns

Posted on: March 10, 2020, 08:13h. 

Last updated on: March 10, 2020, 10:55h.

Eldorado Resorts is divesting MontBleu Resort Casino in Lake Tahoe to appease potential saturation concerns regarding its $17.3 billion acquisition of Caesars Entertainment.

Eldorado Resorts MontBleu Resort Casino
Eldorado Resorts is ridding itself of MontBleu Resort & Casino on Lake Tahoe. (Image: MontBleu Resort & Casino)

In a brief statement Tuesday, the Reno-headquartered casino operator said it has “entered into a definitive agreement” to sell the Stateline, Nevada, property to Maverick Gaming for an undisclosed price. Maverick is a regional gaming company that owns more than two dozen properties located in Nevada, Washington, Colorado – and soon, pending another regulatory approval – Louisiana.   

The agreement to divest MontBleu is consistent with our continued focus on the expected closing for the Caesars transaction in the first half of 2020,” said Eldorado Resorts CEO Tom Reeg.

Envisioned by a group of area investors and constructed by the Del E. Webb Corporation, MontBleu opened in 1978. Caesars handled its operations for 25 years, and later took ownership.

MontBleu features a 45,000-square-foot casino floor, 438 guestrooms, 14,000 square feet of convention space, indoor lagoon, wedding chapel, and full-service spa.

Last month, Eldorado successfully reduced the valuation of MontBleu after arguing that the property wasn’t generating the necessary income to warrant a $73.8 million assessment. After reviewing finance records, the Douglas County Board of Equalization reduced the resort’s taxable value to $34.7 million.

Saturation Concerns

MontBleu’s history is rich in A-list entertainment. Dean Martin, Cher, Tony Bennett, George Carlin, and Johnny Carson are a few of the notable performers who have graced the resort over the years.

Caesars sold MontBleu in 2005 to hotelier and former gaming operator Columbia Sussex to avoid antitrust issues when the company merged with Harrah’s. Columbia sold the Lake Tahoe casino to Tropicana Entertainment in 2010, and Eldorado acquired it in 2018.

Now, it’s Eldorado’s turn to ease monopoly considerations in the area. Because Caesars owns the adjacent Harvey’s Lake Tahoe and Harrah’s properties, Eldorado is divesting MontBleu in order to pacify potential regulatory concerns among the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Gaming Commission, which still needs to approve the Eldorado-Caesars deal.

Nevada’s antitrust law prohibits the “merging or consolidating of businesses if it results in a monopoly of commerce or substantially lessens competition.”

Maverick Buying Spree

MontBleu is the second Eldorado Resorts property that’s being sold to Maverick Gaming in the wake of its Caesars takeover. In January, Eldorado announced it was selling its namesake casino riverboat in Shreveport, Louisiana, to Maverick for $230 million in cash.

Caesars owns the Horseshoe Bossier City just across the Red River, as well as Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. Elsewhere in the Bayou State, Caesars owns Harrah’s New Orleans.

Just days after agreeing to sell Eldorado Resort and Casino, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board signed off on the company’s $17.3 billion purchase of Caesars Entertainment.

Regulators in Louisiana, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania have now all approved the massive acquisition. States still needing to issue their approval include Indiana, Nevada, and New Jersey.