Caesars to Buy Indiana Gaming Operator for $1.7B

The company, in bankruptcy not long ago, seems to see the purchase of Centaur Holdings as a safe bet. Subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2018.

Mark Frissora
Mark Frissora

Caesars Entertainment Corp. has agreed to acquire Centaur Holdings LLC for $1.7 billion in cash, which will add to Caesars’ already-extensive roster, including Centaur’s “racino” operations in Indiana.

The two properties are Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson, roughly 25 miles northeast of Indianapolis, and the Indiana Grand Racing and Casino in Shelbyville, about the same distance southeast of Indianapolis. In addition, Caesars will gain Centaur’s three off-track betting locations, in Indianapolis, New Haven and Clarksville. The racinos offer gaming, racing, dining, and entertainment, including more than 2,000 slots and electronic table games, multiple dining options and both live and simulcast horse racing. Caesars anticipates introducing table games to these properties, pending regulatory approval.

Centaur’s properties host more than 6.5 million guests each year, and more than 1.1 million members are part of its loyalty program. Caesars sees the acquisition as complementing its existing properties in Indiana: Horseshoe Hammond, which serves the Chicago area, and Horseshoe Southern Indiana, which serves the southern Indiana and Louisville area. “The acquisition of Centaur represents an excellent opportunity to enter into a growing region,” Mark Frissora, president & CEO of Caesars Entertainment, said in a prepared statement.

Rod Ratcliff
Rod Ratcliff

We believe Caesars’ acquisition of Centaur Gaming will further build on the successes and contributions of the properties for the benefit of our customers, team members, horsemen, community partners, and financial stakeholders,” Centaur Holdings Chairman & CEO Rod Ratcliff said in a prepared statement.

Subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2018.

The Past few Years

Caesars Entertainment Operating Co., the operating unit of Caesars Entertainment Corp., had filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2015. The restructuring plan called for the operating unit to be split into a casino company and a real estate unit. “The addition of Centaur is the first example of our post-emergence, inorganic growth strategy,” Frissora said.

Last month, VICI Properties Inc. completed its spin-off from Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. and became an experiential-asset focused REIT. VICI owns 19 major gaming facilities, including Caesars Palace Las Vegas, and totaling more than 32.5 million square feet of space, 12,000 guestrooms and 150 restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

Photos courtesy of Caesars Entertainment & Centaur Holdings