Ribbon-cutting ceremony

Caesars Southern Indiana officially launches North Carolina's Cherokees ownership

EBCI Principal Chief Richard Sneed leads the ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the new ownership on Wednesday in Elizabeth, Indiana.
United States
Reading time 2:42 min
The casino was acquired by Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) Holdings last month, its first acquisition outside of North Carolina. Despite the new ownership, Caesars branding and Caesars Rewards loyalty program will remain in place. All 900 employees are being retained in their current position, as the casino looks for additional staffing and upgrades to its hotel and food options.

Caesars Southern Indiana celebrated its new ownership team in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, as the North Carolina-based Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) Holdings has recently acquired the casino.

The 110,000 square foot facility in Elizabeth marks EBCI’s first acquisition outside of North Carolina. Despite the change in the ownership team, the Caesars branding and the Caesars Rewards loyalty program are set to remain in place.

According to the casino’s new owners, all staff, which totals nearly 900 employees, is being retained in their current positions, reports The Evening News and the Tribune. This includes Caesars Southern Indiana General Manager Brad Seigel and the senior leadership team. The casino will continue to look for additional staffing, as well as upgrades to the hotel and food/beverage options.

"Through the thousands of years, my ancestors — the indigenous people of North America — engaged in rigorous commerce before and after European contact," said EBCI Principal Chief Richard Sneed. "The same entrepreneurial spirit that drove our ancestors along trade routes between other tribal nations as far south as Florida is alive and well today."

Sneed sees the Caesars Southern Indiana acquisition as an exciting opportunity for both EBCI and local residents, and expects the company to replicate the success it had with its casinos in North Carolina at the Indiana location.

"We look forward to growing the company," EBCI Holdings CEO Scott Barber said. "Our goal is to have six to eight casinos over the next five years, and in addition to brick and mortar casinos, we're looking at other channels, like online gaming and mobile sports betting."

Barber, who previously worked in executive positions with Caesars Entertainment, says EBCI Holdings was established to diversify the tribe’s economy by expanding assets in the commercial gaming and hospitality business. This is particularly important for the tribe as it faces a growing population and increasing costs of health care, education and housing.

"For us, what's most important is caring for our people," Sneed said. "There's a lot of discussion these days in the national news media and all around the country about providing for our communities, providing for our people.

The Southern Indiana venture allows EBCI to continue its partnership with Caesars Entertainment, which has managed both of its North Carolina casinos from the start. Under state regulations, 75% of the revenue coming from EBCI’s gaming in Indiana will go to the company and 25% can come back to the tribe, further said Sneed, reports the previously cited news source.

EBCI Holdings CEO Scott Barber also addressed Churchill Downs’ recent announcement that they are placing a Derby City gaming location in downtown Louisville in 2023. This has been considered by many as a way in which CDI could compete with Caesars Southern Indiana.

"I think there is a very differentiated gaming product. I think there is room for them to grow and us to grow,” said Barber, unconcerned. “I think there is a lot of room for this market to grow in overall gaming."

EBCI first reached a $250 million agreement with Caesars to purchase the casino in December 2020. The sale was finalized in September after securing clearance in an Indiana Gaming Commission meeting in August.

Caesars Southern Indiana is a $90 million casino previously known as Horseshoe Southern Indiana. The complex features over 100,000 square feet of gaming space, with nearly 1,200 slots and table games, and a sports betting lounge.

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