Reno-based Eldorado Resorts and Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment are about to make history. On June 24, 2019, the companies announced they had entered into a definitive merger agreement that will result in the creation of the largest U.S. casino operator by venue count, as verified by The Wall Street Journal and other major news outlets.

Under the transaction, Eldorado will acquire Caesars for approximately $17.3 billion, including the assumption of Caesar’s outstanding debt. Upon completion of the deal, the combined company will retain the Caesars name, according to a statement released by Eldorado Resorts.

How the Deal Might Affect Planners and Consumers

The strategic rationale for pursuing the combination of Eldorado and Caesars, which will operate under the “new” Caesars brand, includes:

  • A more diversified domestic footprint and scale in the gaming marketplace, with approximately 60 owned, operated and managed casino resorts across 16 states
  • Widespread access to recognized brands and new gaming opportunities

The merger could potentially give planners who already book their meetings at Eldorado or Caesars-owned properties access to a wider network of venues. But it is also possible that planners will find they have less flexibility negotiating contracts with the larger company.

Eldorado CEO Tom Reeg said becoming the biggest owner and operator of U.S. gaming venues as a result of the merger is a strategically, financially and operationally compelling opportunity that brings immediate and long-term value to stakeholders of both companies.

“Together, we will have an extremely powerful suite of iconic gaming and entertainment brands, as well as valuable strategic alliances with industry leaders in sports betting and online gaming,” he said in a statement. “The combined entity will serve customers in essentially every major U.S. gaming market and will marry best-of-breed practices from both entities.”

How the Acquisition Will Impact Caesars Rewards

Reeg added that under the merger, plans are underway to significantly strengthen Caesars Rewards, which he described as the industry’s leading player loyalty and CMS database, and combine it with Eldorado’s to market to over 65 million rewards customers nationally.

“We believe this combination will build on the accomplishments and best-in-class operating practices of both companies,” said Tony Rodio, CEO of Caesars, adding that the company is excited to integrate Caesars Rewards into the combined portfolio. “By joining forces, we believe the new Caesars will be well-positioned to compete in our dynamic industry.”

Eldorado operates 26 properties in 12 states, including Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey and Ohio.

Many of theses venues actively pursue large-scale meetings and events.

Caesars operates meetings-ready casinos and resorts under the Harrah’s, Caesars and Horseshoe brand names. Domestically, Caesars owns and operates 34 casinos and resorts in Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada and New Jersey.

The company has more than 2.1 million square feet of convention space throughout its domestic properties, including Caesars Forum.

Keep up on “all things Vegas” in our 2019 Las Vegas Destination Supplement.