Recently the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) gave the green light for the proposed merger between Eldorado Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, but gambling regulators in New Jersey have not yet signed off on the deal. Five states have now approved the partnership, including Illinois, Missouri, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania.
Once completed, the $17.3 billion agreement will see Eldorado take majority ownership of the Caesars brand and its casinos. While the deal is expected to go through in the first half of this year, both parties have some issues that are yet to be resolved.
The main issue holding up the creation of the new joint-venture is who will run the sportsbooks. Caesars has branded sportsbooks already in place and last year Eldorado signed a 25-year partnership deal with William Hill.
According to Tom Reeg, who is the CEO of Eldorado, both Eldorado and Caesars have been working hard to settle the matter before the closure of the deal. If that does not happen, then the Caesars sportsbooks will be run by William Hill until a permanent solution is found.
The Eldorado website says William Hill operates nine of the casino firm’s sportsbooks in the five states of Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi, and Indiana. As of September of 2019, Caesars was running 29 sportsbooks in the United States. Both Eldorado and Caesars are trying to gain exposure in the US gambling market as more and more states look to legalize sports betting. The companies may have to sell off some of their holdings to get final approval for regulators at state and federal level.
Reeg expects the deal to close early in the second quarter of this year. The merger will make the newly formed company the single largest casino operator in the United States. Reeg said Eldorado and Caesars are both companies with significant value and went on to hint at a plan where Caesars’ sportsbooks would be operated solely by William Hill.
Iowa regulators were unanimous in approving the merger. Caesars owns two casino properties in the Hawkeye State: Horseshoe Council Bluffs and Harrah’s Council Bluffs Casino.