It’s been a busy year for sales on the Las Vegas Strip and we have another to report. Caesars Entertainment properties on both sides of the country announced big deals this week, though they are of a much different nature.
In Philadelphia, Harrah's Casino made a strategic partnership with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles. In Nevada, a famous Caesars property, The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, was sold after months of speculation. We’ll start there as we recap this week’s casino news headlines.
Caesars Entertainment Sold Rio All-Suite Hotel for $516 Million
The Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, which is famously known for hosting the World Series of Poker, has been sold. Caesars Entertainment has announced that they have sold the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino for over $516 million. According to a press release, Caesars sold the property to a company affiliated with Dreamscape Companies, which is owned and controlled by Eric Birnbaum.
The sales agreement states that the Caesars Entertainment company will still operate the Rio for at least two years and pay yearly rent of $45 million. There is an option to extend that management deal where Caesars will keep the agreement going for a third and fourth year.
The Rio will stay under the Caesars Rewards program while under the lease and the World Series of Poker will stay at the property in 2020. However, it does beg the question as to what might happen afterwards.
It’s been a busy couple of months for sales on The Strip as MGM Resorts International has been selling off properties. They’ve already sold off Circus Circus and the Bellagio, and are apparently going to sell MGM Grand in the near future too. The sale of the Rio just adds to the turnover.
Hawaiian Gardens Casino Fined $3.15 Million by State Of California
The Hawaiian Gardens Casino has been slapped with a massive fine as they’ll have to pay the state of California $3.15 million. The Hawaiian Gardens Casino, which is the second-largest card room in the state, neglected to mention to the state’s Attorney General that they had previously received a $2.8 million penalty from state regulators.
At the time, Hawaiian Gardens instead told the Attorney General that they “always been engaged in honest and frank dialogue with regulators”. They knew that not to be the case since they already had a levy, which came from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network after they had violated the Bank Secrecy Act. That’s a federal law meant to counteract money laundering.
The Attorney General had actually pushed to get their license revoked, but the two sides found a happy medium. In exchange for keeping their licenses, the casino’s owners agreed to pay a $3.15 million penalty and complete a two-year compliance period.
If the casino’s license had been revoked, Hawaiian Gardens would have lost a revenue source that supplies two of every three dollars that flow to the city’s General Fund. The damage to the city’s finances would have been significant, as well.
Philadelphia Eagles Announce Partnership With Harrah’s Casino
The continued marriage between sports and sports betting continues. The Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL have announced that they have entered a partnership with Harrah’s Philadelphia. This follows a trend of gambling-based partnerships with professional sports franchises in the state, showing that the area is embracing the legalization of online gambling and sports betting.
The deal between the city’s NFL franchise and the Chester casino includes in-stadium ads, email and direct mail marketing, and appearances from well-known former Eagles at the casino. Caesars Entertainment, which owns Harrah’s Philadelphia, inked a deal with the league as a whole at the start of 2019.