Casino Operator Caesars Needs Approval from Missouri and Louisiana Regulators to Exit Bankruptcy

After receiving green light from Nevada regulators last week and from its shareholders in July, Las Vegas-based casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp. needs to overcome just two more hurdles before putting an end to its two-and-a-half-year-long bankruptcy saga.

Late last week, representatives of the company, including its CEO, Mark Frissora, attended a hearing before the Nevada Gaming Commission, at which they had to provide more clarity on how Caesars is planning to exit bankruptcy.

Under the company’s restructuring plan, it will merge with its main operating unit Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. (CEOC), with the latter actually being the entity that needs to emerge from bankruptcy. The reorganization plan had already been presented to the US Securities and Exchange Commission in the form of a 800-plus-page registration paper. Generally speaking, Caesars will split its domestic real estate property from its gaming properties. The company currently owns and operates 47 casino venues around the US and in other parts of the world.

Once the merger is completed, Caesars will continue running its gaming operations, while its real estate assets will be controlled by a real estate investment trust (REIT), created as part of the restructuring plan. It is also important to note that the REIT will be managed by major Caesars creditors.

With the company having the necessary approval from Nevada, it now needs to receive the nod from gambling regulators in Missouri and Louisiana. In Louisiana, Caesars currently operates three gambling properties – the Louisiana Downs racetrack with a thoroughbred racing facility and casino floor with 1,036 slot machines, the Horseshoe Bossier City dockside casino with 1,372 slot machines and 68 table games, and the Harrah’s New Orleans land-based casino with 1,580 slot machines and 145 table games.

As for its Missouri operation, Caesars currently owns the Harrah’s North Kansas City dockside casino with 1,327 slot machines and 61 table games.

Representatives from the casino operator are set to meet officials from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board and the Missouri Gaming Commission in September. If the operator receives the necessary approvals from the two regulatory bodies, it is expected to fully emerge from bankruptcy in the first days of October.

What Does the Future Hold for Caesars?

Caesars’ main operating unit – CEOC – filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2015. It took two years for the company to negotiate the terms of its restructuring with its creditors. It was in January 2017 when Northern District of Illinois Judge Benjamin Goldgar eventually approved the company’s reorganization plan.

And for the past several months the company has been meeting regulators, shareholders, and other involved parties to receive approvals and thus be able to exit bankruptcy. But aside from that, Caesars has also been making plans for its future after the planned merger with its main operating unit.

The major casino operator will try to boost its future growth by renovating and improving its Las Vegas properties. Caesars is also planning to develop a vacant portion of land near its existing Strip casinos. The company also considers expansion beyond its domestic market. Caesars, just like many of its major rival operators, has been eyeing investment opportunities in the nascent Japanese casino market as well as in Brazil, Canada, and a number of other attractive jurisdictions.

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