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Rio Hotel and Casino sold by Caesars

Wed, Sep 25, 8:12am by Staff Writer

Casino operator Caesars Entertainment has sold its Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Calvin Ayre reports the venue, which has hosted the annual World Series of Poker tournament, was sold for $516.3 million to “a company controlled by a principal of Imperial Companies”, a New York-based real estate investment firm.

Pending regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, the deal is expected to conclude sometime in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The agreement allows Caesars to continue managing operations at the Rio for a minimum of two years while paying annual rent of $45 million.

The Imperial-affiliated company has an option to extend the lease period for a third year in exchange for a $7m payment to Caesars.

The buyer also has the option of requesting the transition of management rights from Caesars at the end of the lease period.

The sale is likely the first of several such deals Caesars will announce in the coming months, ahead of the finalization of the company’s acquisition by rival Eldorado Resorts.

Eldorado chief executive officer Tom Reeg stated that he was looking to unload at least one Caesars property on the Las Vegas Strip and regulatory demands in other markets – including Atlantic City, where the combined entities would control four of the nine casinos – will likely require similar sell-offs.

As for the World Series of Poker, Caesars said Monday that the 2020 tournament will go ahead at the Rio as planned.

However, the company offered no guidance for the 2021 event, except to say that the World Series of Poker’s hosting rights will remain with Caesars following the Rio’s ownership transfer.

The Rio will also remain pat of the Caesars Reward loyalty program for the duration of the property lease.

Caesars chief executive officer Tony Rodio said the deal would allow his company to “focus our resources on strengthening our attractive portfolio of recently renovated Strip properties and is expected to result in incremental EBITDA at those properties.”

Rodio said the retention of both the World Series of Poker and loyalty program’s customers ‘make this a valuable transaction for Caesars.”

Caesars ventures into eSports

It has been a tumultuous time at Caesars Entertainment, as the company has been making a number of deals, including selling some of their most well-known and recognised properties.

However, they have also added new partners, and that was the case on Sunday when it was announced that they had reached a deal with Japanese arcade giant Taito to host an esports event, Calvin Ayre reported in July.

The new deal calls for a competition to occur at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas in August.

The event will be called the Toushinsai, and has been held in Japan every year since 2015.

In the last two years that the event has been hosted, more than 6000 players from across the globe have participated.

That number is expected to be dwarfed by how many are attracted to Las Vegas.

This year’s competition will feature a tournament of three-on-tree single elimination in Street Fighter V.

The winning team will receive an all expenses paid trip to Tokyo.

“Caesars Entertainment is excited to host Toushinsai competitors from around the globe,” Caesars vice president of strategic investment initiatives John Linss said.

“Our company has long fostered the rapidly growing eSports industry throughout our resorts and we are happy to be collaborating with Taito to bring their e-Arcade sports qualifier to North America for the first time.”

This new venture continues the reinvention of Caesars Entertainment.


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