The New Jersey Casino Control Commission (CCC) will not include the pending merger of casino operators Caesars Entertainment Corp. and Eldorado Resorts on its next meeting’s agenda, according to sources.
The commission is scheduled to meet June 10. It is one of the few regulators that still need to rule on the $17.3 billion mega-deal, the other being gaming regulatory bodies in Indiana and Nevada.
Reports about the CCC not including the proposed tie-up in the list of topics and issues to be discussed at its upcoming meeting emerged several weeks after Eldorado’s CEO, Tom Reeg, said he was optimistic they will obtain all the necessary regulatory approvals before the end of June and that their merger with Caesars was on track to close by mid-2020. Mr. Reeg will lead the combined operator.
The coronavirus pandemic delayed several meeting of the New Jersey casino regulator. Back in March when the crisis had just begun, the state Division of Gaming Enforcement that the earliest it could recommend approval of the multi-billion tie-up was in early May.
That would have meant that the CCC would not have been able to assess and rule on the Eldorado’s proposed takeover of its larger fellow casino operator before mid-May. However, a new timeframe is clearly being pursued.
Regulators Say They Need Enough Time to Review Merger
The only chance for the CCC to clear the deal this month is by calling an emergency meeting later in June. New Jersey casino regulators have pointed out that they need enough time to consider the matter.
The deal still needs to approval from the Federal Trade Commission, as well.
Many believed that New Jersey would be one of the biggest hurdles before Eldorado and Caesars’ plan to combine their operations. The enlarged group would have owned four of Atlantic City’s nine operational casinos and this would have certainly prompted competition concerns.
However, Eldorado and Caesars alleviated those concerns in April when they announced the sale of three casinos, including Bally’s Atlantic City, to Twin River Worldwide Holdings in a $180 million deal. So, it is a bit odd that the New Jersey casino regulator is delaying its decision on the proposed merger.
As mentioned earlier, the mega-deal also needs regulatory green light from the Indiana Gaming Commission and Nevada gaming regulators.
The Indiana regulator is set to meet in mid-June, but it is yet to be seen whether commission members will vote on the Caesars-Eldorado combination. The Nevada Gaming Control Board’s next meeting is set to take place June 10, while the state Gaming Commission is scheduled to meet June 25.
Both Caesars and Eldorado have reopened some of their properties across several states as restrictions imposed to help curb the spread of the coronavirus are gradually being eased across the nation.
The two companies will also be able to reopen their properties in Las Vegas and across Nevada from June 4 after Gov. Steve Sisolak allowed gambling venues to resume operations after staying closed for more than two months.
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