The Indiana Gaming Commission has approved the proposed merger between Eldorado Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, but has ordered the combined entity to sell three casinos in the state.
With Eldorado operating the Tropicana casino in Evansville, Indiana and Caesars operating Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, Horseshoe Hammond Casino, Caesars Southern Indiana Casino and Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, the Commission had reservations about the deal.
“The impact of this unprecedented transaction is greater upon Indiana than any other state,” it said.
Part of the reason for this was that the Indiana Gaming Commission noted the combined entity would control up to 60% of gaming revenue in the state.
Because of this, Eldorado voluntarily offered to divest two of its casinos in the state. However, the Commission said a third divestiture would be necessary.
The Commission did not specify which casinos the combined entity should divest.
In addition, the business must not reduce staff numbers at the remaining facilities for the next three years.
Transfer of ownership for the Indiana Grand and Harrah’s Hoosier Park racinos will also require approval from the Indiana Horse Racing Commission.
The only other approval remaining for the deal is from the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. Last week, the deal received approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
The two operators announced the deal in June 2019, with Eldorado set to pay $17.3bn – $7.2bn in cash, and approximately 77m Eldorado common shares – to take ownership of the Caesars business.
Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also approved the merger, after requiring Eldorado to sell two of its properties to Twin River Worldwide Holdings in markets where the deal was deemed uncompetitive.
The required sales – of the Eldorado Shreveport Resort and Casino in Louisiana and the Mont Bleu Casino Resort & Spa in Lake Tahoe, Nevada for a purchase price of $155m – were agreed in April.