The Indiana Horse Racing Commission approved the pending merger Monday, just three days after the deal also gained the green light from the Indiana Gaming Commission. With the Indiana agencies giving their consent to the deal, only New Jersey remains as the last state that has yet to approve the merger, as reported by Reno Gazette Journal.
The Indiana Gaming Commission is requiring Eldorado and Caesars to sell three of its gaming properties in the state as a condition for its approval. On Monday, Eldorado CEO Thomas Reeg confirmed it will sell the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond to a new operator by the end of the year. He told members of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission that if they approved Eldorado's acquisition of Caesars' suburban Indianapolis horse track casinos, Harrah's Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand, it will sell the Hammond Horseshoe, Caesars Southern Indiana casino in Elizabeth and Tropicana Casino in Evansville, The Times of Northwest Indiana reports.
The Horse Racing Commission ultimately voted 4-0 to allow Eldorado to purchase the tracks, subject to numerous conditions relating to facilities improvement, payments to horsemen and maintaining employment levels.
Eldorado received approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission and the Nevada Gaming Control Board on July 8. Other state agencies that approved the deal include the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, Illinois Gaming Control Board, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission, Mississippi Gaming Commission, Maryland State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency, and the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.
Eldorado also received approval from the Federal Trade Commission, which required the company to sell several properties to prevent an anticompetitive situation if the merger goes through. The properties include the Montbleu Resort Casino & Spa at Lake Tahoe as well as the Eldorado Shreveport Resort and Casino in Louisiana, both of which Eldorado sold at a lower price to Twin River Worldwide Holdings for $155 million in cash.
Original buyer Maverick Gaming backed out of the deal after the COVID-19 pandemic. Eldorado was already in the process of selling some of its properties even before it was required by regulators to do so. Earlier this year, Eldorado announced that it was divesting itself of properties such as the Eldorado Resort and Casino in Shreveport, the Isle of Capri Casino Kansas City and the Lady Luck Casino Vicksburg in an effort to reduce debt.
The Eldorado-Caesars merger was originally planned to close in the first half of 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed those plans.