JEFFERSON CITY — Eldorado Resorts, owner of the Isle of Capri Casino in Boonville, is one step closer to finalizing a deal to buy Caesars Entertainment Corporation.
Eldorado received regulatory approval Wednesday from the Missouri Gaming Commission that will allow them to move forward with the purchase, though there is still work to be done in other states.
The $17.3 billion cash-and-stock purchase is expected to be completed in the first half of next year, said Tom Reeg, chief executive officer of Eldorado. Shareholders from both companies approved the deal on Nov. 15.
“The limbo where the employees and customers are waiting for a transaction to close … can be difficult,” Regg said. “So we work to make it as quick as possible.”
Assuming the merger is finalized in 2020, the combined company will retain the Caesars name. The company will continue to operate two Eldorado-owned casinos in Missouri, the Isle of Capri-Boonville and Lumiere Place in St. Louis, and take over operation of the Caesars-owned Harrah’s North Kansas City Hotel and Casino. Overall the company will control 60 properties in 16 states, including Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
The Boonville casino employs about 400 people and is responsible for 17 percent increase in taxable retail sales since 2000. The company said in November that it expected no major changes due to the merger.
When Eldorado and Caesars announced the merger in June, antitrust concerns arose from the fact that the company would have owned six of 13 licensed casinos in the state. Eldorado announced it would sell the Isle of Capri-Kansas City to Twin River Casino, based in Rhode Island.
Before voting on the merger, the commission approved Eldorado’s sale of two other Missouri casinos, the Isle of Capri in Cape Girardeau and Lady Luck Casino in Caruthersville to Century Casinos and VICI Properties.
In the $385 million deal, which includes properties in other states, Century will pay $107 million to acquire the casino operations, while VICI will acquire the real estate for $278 million.
With the commission's approval, the parties are expecting to close the deal Friday, said Peter Hoetzinger, co-ceo of Century Casinos.
Eldorado and Caesars still have to receive regulatory approval in New Jersey, where the combined company would own four of nine casinos in Atlantic City.