Eldorado CEO Says Merger on Track, Caesars Plans Reopening

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Eldorado Resorts CEO Tom Reeg has expressed optimism about the pending merger between Caesars Entertainment Corp. and his company. Reeg commented that the $17.3 billion deal should be finalized by the end of June, as planned when the first was announced in 2019.

The statement came during Eldorado’s earnings call on Monday, May 11, with the casino reporting that it had sustained a hit as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown. Reeg, who is set to step in as the new man at the helm of the resulting gaming giant, assured that everything was on track.

He further commented on the ongoing reopening of Nevada’s industry and remained optimistic about tourism. Many casinos, including the Venetian and Palazzo, have set their dates on an early June reopening.

Amid the optimism, Reeg delivered the latest results, with Eldorado’s Q1 net revenue taking a 17.5% year-over-year tumble to $473.1 million. Reeg, though remained upbeat, and his optimism could be justified, given recent results which didn’t spell quite the devastating financial ruin some operators took to their bottom line.

According to the executive, the industry was only going to go up from there on and predicted what he described as “enthusiastic re-commitment by consumers.” Even if this is true, however, casinos will need to operate according to strict new rules and at limited capacity.

Caesars Entertainment Plans a Grand Return

Meanwhile, acknowledging difficulties, Caesars is poised to reopen its properties in phases and in compliance with state-mandated norms, the company explained on Monday. Caesars will wait for clearance from both state and local authorities before it restores any operations.

The company said that it would phase Nevada hotel-casinos while observing new capacity standards as well as ensuring social distancing and safety measures. Caesars CEO Tony Rodio assured that the company was working close with health authorities and regulators, as well as infection disease specialists to device a plan.

“We are implementing new protocols focused on the wellbeing of our team members, guests and communities to create environments with high standards of sanitization and physical distancing practices.”

Caesars will also elaborate on better cleaning and sanitation practices in public spaces as well as hotel rooms, and employees will wear protective gear to minimize the risk of infection.

So far, MGM Resorts has been the first company to present comprehensive, state-by-state opening plans, although some local regulatory edges still need to be smoothed out.

Eldorado Ready to Call It All Systems Go

Even though EBITDA fell to 33% year-over-year in Q1, Eldorado is not daunted by these developments. In fact, the company is planning a comprehensive re-opening plan encompassing 23 venues across 11 states.

The operator will restart operations in Louisiana first, with Gov. John Bel Edwards giving a formal approval on Monday. According to Edwards, casinos will be able to restore operations at a highly limited, 25% capacity on Friday, May 15.

As to the merger at hand, Eldorado and Caesars still have to get the official OK from several high-profile regulators, including the Federal Trade Commission, Nevada Gaming Commission and the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.

Reeg remains confident that these last details can be ironed out. In April, Twin Rivers bought up three properties from Eldorado Resorts, as part of the latter’s new corporate strategy that relies less on real estate and banks on branding instead.

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