The Indiana authority has allowed Caesars Entertainment to retain the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, reversing its 2020 order to sell the property.
On Thursday, The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) amended its previous order, requiring Caesars to sell a third casino asset in the Hoosier State to a new operator by the end of this year.
The Nevada-based casino and hotel company will continue to own and operate Horseshoe Hammond, Indiana Grand, Harrah’s Hoosier Park, as well as its three off-track betting locations.
Why IGC Changed Its Own Decision?
The IGC members, who voted 4-1 Thursday to rescind its previous judgment, were convinced that amid increased competition from the Hard Rock Casino, and other new casinos in Chicago and south suburban Cook County, it is in the best interest of the state that a formidable brand in the Northwest Indiana gaming market continue to operate the Hammond casino.
Caesars CEO Tom Reeg’s testimony was particularly convincing, who said the company had successfully divested itself of Tropicana Evansville and will conclude a deal to sell Caesars Southern Indiana to the Cherokee Indians later this year. Reeg also noted the company also committed nearly $100 million to Indiana Grand and Harrah’s Hoosier Park horse racing tracks.
Last year, the ICG had called for Caesars Entertainment to divest itself of three properties in the Hoosier State to allow the $17 billion merger.
Last July, Caesars Entertainment – formerly known as Eldorado Resorts – announced it completed its acquisition of Caesars Entertainment Corporation in a merger. It took more than a year to close the $17.3 billion deal first announced in 2019. The transaction created the largest casino and entertainment company in the United States.
After acquiring Caesars, the parent company Eldorado resorts rebranded itself as Caesars Entertainment, Inc.
Before recently completing an acquisition deal worth $3.7 billion with UK-based William Hill, the Eldorado-Caesars merger increased the parent company’s assets to more than 55 casinos worldwide, including one on the Las Vegas Strip.
The IGC had approved the $17.3 billion merger on conditions that Caesars would divest three Indiana properties to address the concerns related to its market concentration.
One Commissioner Dissented
While 4 commissioners voted to rescind their previous decision, the only vote – that of Marc Fine – dissented. Fine favored keeping the original order of divestment intact.
The commissioner argued that one casino company should not be allowed to control up to 40% of the state’s gaming market as Caesars does with the Horseshoe and its two horse track casinos in the Hoosier State.
The Nevada-based company actually owned five of Indiana’s 13 casinos following its $17.3 billion merger.
However, the commission deemed that an “undue economic concentration” of the Indiana gaming industry, ordering Caesars to divest all but two of its Indiana properties.
How Have We Reached Here?
The latest decision comes days after Reeg and Hammond Mayor Thomas Mcdermott Jr. requested the Indiana Gaming Commission to reconsider its decision and allow Caesars to keep the Horseshoe.
After Thursday’s decision, Reeg said: “We’re confident that our continued management of Horseshoe Hammond is in the best interest of our team members, guests, and the community, and the state.”
Caesars recently closed on the sale of Tropicana Evansville and hopes to close on the sale of Caesars Southern Indiana by the next few months.