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Eldorado Resorts opening 3 Louisiana casino properties Monday

Updated May 18, 2020 - 3:15 pm

Regional gaming operators Eldorado Resorts Inc. and Penn National Gaming opened their Louisiana casinos Monday.

A spokesman for Reno-based Eldorado said that its Isle of Capri Lake Charles, Belle of Baton Rouge and Eldorado Shreveport opened at 10 a.m., Nevada time, after receiving the go-ahead from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.

Wyomissing, Pennsylvania-based Penn National opened five casinos — Margaritaville Resort Casino and Boomtown Casino in Bossier City; Boomtown Casino New Orleans; L’Auberge Baton Rouge and L’Auberge Lake Charles.

Penn operates three properties in Nevada, including the Tropicana on the Strip and the M Resort in Henderson.

Under rules announced by the board, Louisiana companies must limit gaming positions to 50 percent of prior levels and admission will be at 25 percent of the occupancy of maximum allowable fire code levels.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards ordered casinos closed at midnight March 17 in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus. At the time, it was expected to be a two-week closure, but the order was extended through Monday.

“As we resume operations at our properties, the health and safety of our team members and guests is our No. 1 priority,” said Anthony Carano, president and chief operating officer of Eldorado Resorts. “We have been working very hard over the last two months to prepare for the reopening of our casinos and we look forward to providing the outstanding service and hospitality experiences Eldorado is known for in a safe manner.”

Eldorado owns and operates 23 casinos in 11 states: Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey and Ohio. The company is on the verge of acquiring Caesars Entertainment Corp. for an estimated $17.3 billion, a deal expected to close by the end of June.

Last week, company CEO Tom Reeg reiterated in an earnings conference call with investors his confidence that the deal would be completed and that the casino industry — particularly the regional markets — would come back strong once reopened.

In an earnings call last week, Penn National noted plans to reopen in Louisiana but did not specify which properties.

A spokesman for Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming Corp., said the company plans to open three Louisiana properties on Wednesday — Delta Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel, Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel and Treasure Chest Casino.

On Thursday, the company will reopen its two Mississippi properties, IP Casino Resort Spa in Biloxi and Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Tunica. The following week, Boyd plans to resume operations at two additional properties in Louisiana, Amelia Belle Casino and Sam’s Town Shreveport.

Eldorado shares traded on the Nasdaq exchange soared by $4.59, 19.8 percent, to $27.80 a share on heavy trading volume. After hours, shares were up another 35 cents, 1.3 percent, to $28.15 a share.

Penn shares, also trading on Nasdaq, were up $2.90, 15 percent, to $22.25 a share, on volume nearly twice the daily average. After hours, shares were up another 15 cents, 0.7 percent, to $22.40.

Boyd, on the New York Stock Exchange, climbed $1.79, 11.2 percent, to close at $17.89 a share on slightly above average volume. After hours, shares were up another 19 cents, 1.1 percent, to $18 a share.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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