While Eldorado Resorts has raised the possibility of selling off one of Caesars’ Strip properties when the companies’ merger concludes next year, the Reno-based operator has yet to mention what the future might hold for the firm’s five tribal gaming management deals in California, Arizona and North Carolina.
When Eldorado Resorts’ $17.3bn merger with Caesars Entertainment closes next year, the Reno-based casino company will also take on the firm’s five tribal gaming management contracts across three states.
Through its Harrah’s brand, Caesars is the largest commercial casino operator of tribal properties in the US and the company has long-standing management deals with casinos in California, Arizona and North Carolina.
While Eldorado has not made any official statements regarding the tribal gaming contracts, industry commentators suggest the deals will remain in place following the merger.
Several tribal gaming authorities, as well as the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), were included among the nearly two dozen regulatory bodies which need to sign off on the merger in the companies’ S-4 registration filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Hilary Tompkins, an attorney with Hogan Lovells specialising in tribal gaming, explained that every management contract “must contain a provision that provides for advance tribal approval of any change in ownership interest” by the operating company.
“NIGC approval would be needed if the tribe and new management company seek any amendments to the management contract,” she said. “In addition, NIGC approval is needed for any assignment of a management contract to a new entity, and of course, per the NIGC regulations, the tribe will conduct background investigations on any new primary management officials and key employees.”
In the Golden State, Caesars operates Harrah’s Southern California, near San Diego, and Harrah’s Northern California, near Sacramento.
In Arizona, the company manages Harrah’s Ak-Chin, outside Phoenix. The property recently wrapped-up a three-year, multi-million dollar expansion and renovation project in late May.
Caesars also operates Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel in North Carolina for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
The majority of the tribes have yet to make a statement regarding the merger, nevertheless the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, which owns Harrah’s Southern California, said it’s satisfied with its 15-year partnership with Caesars.
Rincon Tribal Council member Steve Stallings stated that that the governing body does not need to approve the merger with Eldorado “as long as our management agreement is unchanged”.
Caesars’ newest Indian casino, the $168m Harrah’s Northern California in Amador County, opened its doors this April.
Owned by the Buena Vista Rancheria Band of Me-Wuk Indians, the property features 950 slot machines, 20 tables games, three quick serve restaurants and a full-service restaurant.