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STOCK - Horseshoe Casino

The entrance to Horseshoe Casino in Hammond. Eldorado Resorts announced Monday that it is purchasing Caesars Entertainment Corp., the parent company of the Hammond Horseshoe and three other Indiana gaming facilities, in a $17.3 billion cash-and-stock transaction.

HAMMOND — The parent company of Hammond's Horseshoe casino is being purchased in a $17.3 billion deal that will create the nation's largest casino operator, and bring five of Indiana's 13 state-regulated gaming facilities under the control of a single owner.

Eldorado Resorts Inc. announced Monday it is acquiring Caesars Entertainment Corp. in a cash-and-stock transaction that will unite 60 casinos across 16 states.

"Together, we will have an extremely powerful suite of iconic gaming and entertainment brands, as well as valuable strategic alliances with industry leaders in sports betting and online gaming," said Eldorado CEO Tom Reeg, who will lead the combined company that will operate under the Caesars name.

"We could not be more excited about the future as we bring together two industry leaders that will generate significant opportunities for our employees, customers, partners and shareholders."

The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2020, pending approval by the companies' directors, shareholders and various regulatory authorities.

Reeg said he anticipates some of the nine Las Vegas Strip casinos involved in the transaction may need to be sold to address potential federal antitrust concerns.

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However, a similar sell-off likely will not be necessary in the Hoosier State. An Indiana law that takes effect July 1 sets a new ownership cap of six total casino properties, instead of a maximum of two casinos and two horse track casinos, also known as racinos.

Caesars currently is at Indiana's cap as owner of the Hammond Horseshoe and Horseshoe Southern Indiana casinos, and the Indiana Grand and Harrah's Hoosier Park racinos near Indianapolis.

Eldorado first entered the Indiana gaming market last year when it purchased the Tropicana Casino in Evansville.

The five properties together generated more than 60% of the $602.4 million in gaming taxes paid to the state during the 2018 budget year, according to the Indiana Gaming Commission.

"By joining forces, we believe the new Caesars will be well-positioned to compete in our dynamic industry," Caesars CEO Tony Rodio said. "We are excited to integrate Caesars Rewards with the combined portfolio."

In Illinois, Eldorado owns the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, while Caesars owns Harrah's Joliet and Harrah's Metropolis casinos.

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