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Indiana Regulators Force Eldorado And Caesars To Sell Three Casinos

Ahead Of Pending Merger, Two Companies Own Five Of The State's 13 Casinos, Making Up 60% Of Casino Tax Revenue

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Gaming regulators in Indiana are forcing Eldorado Resorts and Caesars Entertainment to sell three properties if the two companies want approval for the pending $17.3 billion merger.

The Indiana Gaming Commission made the announcement Friday, citing concerns over “economic concentration” of the state’s casino market. Currently, the two companies own five of the state’s 13 casinos, which combine for upwards of 60 percent of the state’s casino tax revenue.

Eldorado owns Tropicana casino in Evansville, while Caesars is in control of Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, Horseshoe Hammond, Caesars Southern Indiana and Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.

The impact of this unprecedented transaction is greater upon Indiana than any other state,” the IGC said in a statement.

The IGC didn’t specify which three casinos needed to be sold, but they did specify that the new company could not reduce staff at the remaining casinos for the next three years. According to an Associated Press report, Eldorado CEO Thomas Reeg said that the Tropicana casino, Caesars Southern Indiana and Horseshoe Hammond were the three likely casinos up for grabs.

The two Caesars properties are both regular stops on the World Series of Poker Circuit. With its proximity to Chicago, the Hammond property regularly draws some of the biggest fields the WSOP Circuit sees.

The move comes less than a week after Nevada regulators approved the deal as is. Last month, the United States Federal Trade Commission gave its stamp of approval as well. The FTC approved the deal after the two companies sold three casinos in Atlantic City, Lake Tahoe and Louisiana to Rhode Island-based Twin River Worldwide Holdings.

Approval from regulators in Indiana and New Jersey are a few of the last hurdles standing in the way of completing the deal.

Last summer, Eldorado sold three casinos in West Virginia and Missouri parting ways with a Louisiana property last January. Around the same time, Caesars sold a Reno casino as well to help reduce the new company’s economic footprint.