Eldorado’s Merger With Caesars Is Final; What The Vegas Strip Will Be Like Now

Written By Marc Meltzer on July 20, 2020 - Last Updated on July 22, 2020

The deal is done! Caesars Entertainment and Eldorado Resorts have completed a merger that has been in the works for over a year. The deal becoming official was all but complete once the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) and Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) approved the deal in Nevada last week.

This is a merger, but it’s technically a $17.3 billion purchase of Caesars Entertainment by Eldorado Resorts. However, the combined company will keep the world-famous Caesars brand name.

The merger marks a deal between casino operators in both northern and southern Nevada. Eldorado Resorts is based in Reno while Caesars Entertainment is based in Las Vegas. The combination of the two national and regional casino operators creates the largest casino and entertainment company in the US.

After selling off some duplicate properties in a few markets, the combined company will own and operate more than 55 casino properties worldwide. This includes eight casino-resorts on the Vegas Strip … for now.

“We are pleased to have completed this transformative merger, thus making us the premier leader in gaming and hospitality. We look forward to executing on the numerous opportunities ahead to create value for all stakeholders,” said Tom Reeg, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, Inc.

Reeg was previously CEO of Eldorado Resorts. He will take over CEO duties at Caesars from Tony Rodio, who will remain with the company as an advisor. Rodio is familiar with both companies. He previously worked for Tropicana Entertainment, which was purchased by Eldorado Resorts and is now part of Caesars Entertainment.

Get ready to say goodbye to at least one Caesars Las Vegas casino

Since this deal was first conceived in 2019, Reeg said the company would consider selling at least one Caesars Las Vegas casino within two years of the completion of the merger. Last week he reiterated that thought to the NGCB, but said the sale of a Las Vegas casino could take place inside of 12 months.

Caesars sold the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino last year to a real estate developer. The company has a lease on its only off-strip property through 2021. The new owner has an option to keep the lease or move on from Caesars.

Planet Hollywood and Bally’s are the two Caesars Las Vegas casinos most often rumored to be on the market. It’s possible that Hard Rock International will buy one of the properties so the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino can return to Las Vegas.

William Hill to operate Caesars Nevada sportsbooks

Sports bettors will have one less option when shopping for the best odds in Nevada. Last week, both the NGCB and NGC approved William Hill to take over the operations of Caesars’ sportsbooks.

William Hill operates more than 100 sportsbooks in Nevada. The company will add the following retail sportsbooks to its huge roster of locations in the state:

  • Caesars Palace
  • The Cromwell
  • Bally’s
  • Flamingo
  • The Linq
  • Harrah’s Las Vegas
  • Harrah’s Laughlin
  • Harvey’s Lake Tahoe
  • Paris Las Vegas
  • Planet Hollywood
  • Rio

There will be a few minor changes to Caesars sportsbooks in Nevada. William Hill will add betting kiosks to all retail locations. The company will also update the odds boards at some Caesars properties. William Hill says they will also take pari-mutuel horse racing wagers at all Caesars Nevada sportsbooks besides The Cromwell.

In time, there will also be a new Caesars sports betting app called Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill. The new app will merge William Hill’s technology with the Caesars Rewards loyalty club. More information about the new app should be announced soon.

Caesars Rewards is expanding

One of the biggest changes from this merger might affect Caesars Rewards. The largest casino loyalty club will get bigger with the addition of about 10 million members of Eldorado Resorts’ One Club, Top Advantage, Club GVC and Fan Club. Members of these clubs can link their respective players clubs with Caesars Rewards.

It will take about a year for the two clubs to completely become one. In the meantime, One Club members will have access to some Caesars Rewards benefits. During the special meetings last week, Reeg referred to this as “Caesars Rewards Light.”

The biggest change for existing Caesars Rewards members could be with complimentary rooms. Caesars Rewards members will see as many as 10 million new customers looking to reserve the same number of complimentary rooms.

The increase in competition could make it more difficult for existing members to reserve a “free” room. Time will tell if the new Caesars will increase the number of complimentary rooms available, but all signs point to that not happening.

Eldorado Resorts is looking for ways to reduce expenses to save at least $500 million. Giving away more complimentary room nights for Las Vegas resorts might not be in the cards.

Say goodbye to some Caesars buffets

During first-quarter earnings calls, both Reeg and Rodio commented that buffets aren’t revenue generators. In fact, during the hearings last week, Reeg mentioned that the companies lose about $3 million per year on each buffet. Reducing 40 buffets around the country could save Caesars $120 million.

Most Nevada casinos have closed buffets as a way to possibly slow the spread of COVID-19. It appears as though many won’t reopen. However, premium buffets like Bacchanal at Caesars Palace should reopen. Eater Las Vegas is reporting that this particular buffet should reopen in late August. This would follow the reopening of the premium (expensive) buffets at Wynn and Cosmopolitan.

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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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