On Monday Caesars Entertainment announced it had sold the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, home to the World Poker Series for the last 15 years, for $516.3 million.
A company owned by Imperial Companies, a New York-based real estate company, purchased the near-Strip property in Las Vegas.
As part of the agreement, Caesars will remain managing the hotel casino. Caesars will be leasing for a cool $45 million for the first two years, and has a lease choice of $7 million for the following year of management.
While selling his property, Caesars still retains the WSOP brand rights.
Seth Palansky, WSOP Vice President of Corporate Communications, informed Card Player last week that the game will be in Rio again in 2020 and that “people should feel confident that the 2021 WSOP will be at the Rio as well.”
The sale of the building was only rumored at the time of the interview, but Palansky reiterated that having a new owner wouldn’t affect future plans for the annual summer series, going on to say the convention space is booked up years in advance.
“I mean, even if the property were to change hands, you think a new owner wouldn’t want to have the WSOP there, based on what it’s brought into the property for all these years? It’s a known quantity in a slow time period for convention business and the city in general.”
Caesars will be taking care of the day-to-day running of the establishment for the nest two-three years, it therefore makes sense for the Rio to continue to be the venue for the largest poker series in the world for the time being.
The agreement is very comparable to one considered by MGM Resorts with two of its flagship Strip estates. There are rumours that Bellagio and MGM Grand could be sold by MGM to the Blackstone Group for a total of 7 billion dollars, then for MGM to continue operating the establishment. Reports are that MGM is seeking to free resources to construct a 10-billion-dollar resort in Japan.
In the press release, Caesars CEO Tony Rodio said that the business was using Rio’s money to enhance its other Strip casinos.
“This deal allows Caesars Entertainment to focus our resources on strengthening our attractive portfolio of recently renovated Strip properties and is expected to results in incremental EBITDA at those properties,” he said.