Casino powerhouse, Caesars Entertainment Inc. recently announced that it will unload the riverboat casino Belle of Baton Rouge from its casino property portfolio.
The casino operator has entered into a contract to sell, for an unspecified sum, the Baton Rouge, Louisiana gambling venue to CQ Holding Company, Inc. (Casino Queen).
Caesars has a 15-year leasing contract for the riverboat casino with the real estate investment trust Gaming and Leisure Assets (GLPI). Caesars said on 1 December, Tuesday that the Baton Rouge facility would be removed from the GLPI Master Lease under the terms of a revised lease agreement with GLPI while the rent payments to the REIT would remain unchanged. The agreement also noted that GLPI would remain the owner of the land and buildings associated with Belle of Baton Rouge after the sale closes.
As with any purchase and merger deal, the sale is subject to regulatory check and balances and other standard closing conditions and is expected to close in mid-2021.
Caesars’ chief executive officer, Tom Reeg, lauded and commended their Baton Rouge team members for their hard work and dedication, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Reeg also wished them the best under Casino Queen’s ownership.
Back in October 2018, Caesars’ predecessor, Eldorado Resorts, and GLPI bought Belle of Baton Rouge as part of a larger $1.85 billion transaction for the purchase of the entire Tropicana Entertainment property. Eldorado then took over Caesars this past July, combining all of their assets. Eldorado and Caesars’ merger secured approval from Louisiana regulators earlier this year. However, Eldorado faced some serious criticism over the state of its Belle of Baton Rouge property back then.
The Louisiana Gaming Control Board asked Reeg, who was the CEO of Eldorado Resorts at that time, during a regulatory hearing on the Eldorado-Caesars tie-up, if the merged company would be up to the challenge of ensuring that the company spreads attention to all the properties in all the states in which you operate.
At that hearing, Ronnie Jones, the chairman of the board at the time, also noted that the state of Belle de Baton Rouge was intolerable and that he could not allow the property to get lost in the weeds on his watch. Reeg also told regulators at the hearing that the group was looking to bring Belle of Baton Rouge onshore and into a nearby atrium.
As it stands, the intentions of the property’s new owners are uncertain.
Caesars is currently in the process of selling two more of its properties in Lousiana. In September, the firm revealed that Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Casino, Racing & Entertainment would be unloaded from its portfolio. Rubico Acquisition Corp. has agreed to purchase the Bossier City racing and casino complex for $22 million.
Furthermore, Caesars is set to sell Eldorado Resort Casino in Shreveport to Bally’s Corporation, formerly Twin River Worldwide Holdings.
In other events, Caesars has made a £2.9 billion offer to purchase William Hill, one the UK’s biggest bookmakers. The offer was accepted by the former and currently is under standard regulatory processes.