Finally the merger between two giants in the casino industry is final.
New Jersey, the last state to approve a long-awaited contract between Caesars Entertainment and Eldorado Resorts, gave the approval Friday after the New Jersey Casino Control Commission’s three day marathon session.
The Eldorado-Caesars joint group, which operates more than 50 U.S. casinos, will operate under the Caesars Entertainment name, while Eldorado retains 56 percent of the business. This will become the country’s largest casino company.
In New Jersey there were questions about the consequences of the deal for Atlantic City casinos, according to an article in The Press of Atlantic City. But on Friday, the Casino Control Commission voted 2-0 to approve the contract, whereby the Caesars-Eldorado merged company would own four of the nine casinos in the area.
New Jersey was a fitting setting for the final stage of one of the biggest corporate narratives of the industry in 2020 – eight of the state’s nine casinos (all in Atlantic City) reopened following coronavirus-related closures, the ninth of which will do so next week. Online sportsbooks in New Jersey are even doing decent business with major U.S. sports leagues yet to restart.
The transaction would impact four of Atlantic City ‘s nine casino properties, the nation’s second-largest gaming market behind the Las Vegas Strip.
According to an Associated Press report, Eldorado CEO Thomas Reeg, during testimony Wednesday said: “Atlantic City is going to be a significant piece of this combined company.”
According to the article, Commissioner Alisa Cooper said: “It bears to reason that there was significant concern regarding the financial stability, given the magnitude of the impact on the two companies and given unanticipated costs.”
The same article said Eldorado decided to reinvest 5 percent of the annual net sales in the current Atlantic City facilities of the two businesses, including Harrah’s and Tropicana, as well as the Caesars Atlantic City casino. Caesars had only recently decided to sell Twin River’s casino to its Atlantic City Bally.
Nevada regulators gave their approval for the agreement between Eldorado and Caesars on July 8. Also on July 10, the Indiana Gaming Commission gave its OK and on July 13, the Indiana Horse Racing Commission followed suit, with the state forcing the Caesars-Eldorado company to sell three of its five casinos in the state. Earlier this year, other states that needed to approve the deal did so.
That leaves nothing more than New Jersey. A comprehensive selection of online gaming choices and the popular brick-and – mortar casinos of Atlantic City make the Garden State a dominant player in the American gambling market.
New Jersey is one of only four states offering online poker, and one of only two states running online gaming sites (the other being Pennsylvania).