Updated July 10, 2020 - 4:57 pm
The Indiana Gaming Commission on Friday conditionally approved Eldorado Resorts Inc.’s planned $17.3 billion acquisition of Caesars Entertainment Corp.
In a unanimous vote, the commission ordered the new company to divest three Indiana properties by Dec. 31 to avoid a market concentration by one operation and also will require the new company to maintain its level of employment for at least three years.
The state isn’t done with the deal yet.
The Indiana Horse Racing Commission will consider the transaction Monday morning and has issues that are different from those of the Gaming Commission, most of them centered around Eldorado’s inexperience in operating horse-racing tracks.
The Gaming Commission took testimony and deliberated for two hours before reaching its decision. Eldorado’s presentation was similar to one it presented to the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission on Wednesday.
Indiana commissioners’ biggest concern was over market concentration. Commission officials estimated without divesting properties, the new company would control about 67 percent of the market. Knowing that was too great, Eldorado strategized to divest two properties, which would result in holding about 40 percent of the market. Commissioners ended up demanding they give up three of their five properties.
Eldorado will probably determine which ones after hearing the Horse Racing Commission’s concerns Monday.
The commission also is requiring the new company to guarantee at least the existing level of employment for a minimum of three years.
Eldorado shares closed down 80 cents, about 2 percent, to $40.15 in lighter-than-average trading on the Nasdaq exchange Friday.
Contact Richard N. Velotta at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.