Rio goes for $ 516.3 million to New York-based real estate business, Imperial Companies.
Palansky: "Hosting rights to the WSOP will remain with Caesars."
It is official: Caesars Entertainment properties Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino sold for $ 51
"This agreement allows Caesars Entertainment to focus our resources on strengthening our attractive portfolio of recently renovated Strip properties and is expected to result in incremental (cash flow) on these properties," Caesars Entertainment CEO Tony Rodio said in a statement announcing the deal.
"While hosting rights to the WSOP remain with Caesars, there are no answers to other forward-looking questions related to Rio or the WSOP."
As part of t Caesars will continue to operate the casino property off the strip for at least two years and pay $ 45 million per year for rent in a lease-back agreement, according to CDC Gaming Reports . Rio will also remain part of Caesars Reward's customer loyalty program while Caesars maintains its operations, and will continue to host the WSOP for the time being.
"Retaining the World Series of Poker and retaining Caesars Rewards customers are all factors that make this a valuable transaction for Caesars," Rodio said in his statement.
Future of WSOP
The news of Rio's sales seems to be changing so little for the time being. WSOP is not going to change hands as part of the deal, as Caesars retains ownership of the most prestigious and longest-running poker festival in the world. As reported by PokerNews last week, the agreement should not change the long-term position of World Series of Poker at least not by 2020. We reached the WSOP Vice President of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky to confirm.
"Rio sales are expected to close by the end of the year," Palansky said. "Caesars will continue to operate Rio for at least two years and will remain part of the Caesars Rewards network during this period. In addition, WSOP will host Rio in 2020. While host rights to WSOP remain with Caesars, there is no answers to other forward-looking questions related to Rio or WSOP. "
" Retaining the World Series of Poker and retaining Caesars Rewards customers are all factors that make this a valuable transaction for Caesars. "
The The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Imperial, signed into the contract, will have the opportunity to pay Caesar's $ 7 million to "extend the lease on similar terms for a third year, and at the buyer's request, Caesars may proceed to administer Rio or provide transitional services to Imperial. "What that will mean for the WSOP would be a matter of a future date.
Rumors to Rest
You may remember that Caesars was acquired by Reno-based Eldorado Resorts Inc. back in June, to a $ 17.3 billion deal that saw the two casino brands merge with the largest gaming company in the United States
Rumors about Rio's future ownership, potential demolition and possible relocation of the World Series of Poker have yet to be resolved.
The Brazil-themed hotel casino sale was previewed in June by Eldorado CEO Thomas Reeg when he told investors he expected one or two of Caesar's nine Las Vegas properties to be sold as part of their agreement.
"It should reduce leverage and exposure for the Las Vegas market, both of which are stated targets for Eldorado."
Rio opened in January 1990 west of Caesars Palace and the Las Vegas Strip, and now has 2522 suites. In 1998, the property was sold for about $ 880 million to Harrah's Entertainment which would later become Caesars Entertainment. For 15 years Rio has hosted the WSOP.
Jefferie's gaming analyst David Katz called the sale "both a strategic and financial positive" for Caesars and Eldorado, in a research note to investors, reported by CDC Gaming Reports . "It should reduce leverage and exposure to the Las Vegas market, both of which are stated goals for Eldorado," Katz said.
Rios buys, Imperial Companies, founded in 2014 by Eric Birnbaum and Michael Fascitelli is "a vertically integrated real estate investment, development and management platform focusing primarily on mixed use, residential , hospitality wealth in all major US markets, "according to the company's website.
Pending shareholder and regulatory approval, Rio sales should be closed before the planned completion of the Caesars-Eldorado merger expected in spring 2020. It looks like Rio rumors can now be put to rest – at least until we get through another WSOP.  Image courtesy of www.flickr.com/Matt Kieffer
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