Caesars Sells Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino for $516 Million
Caesars Entertainment has sold the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas for $516.3 million, the company announced Monday. The home of the World Series of Poker is no longer owned by Caesars although they retain the WSOP rights.
Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, usually abbreviated to the Rio, is now owned by New York-based Imperial Companies, a real estate operation. Imperial Companies has paid $516.3m for the off-strip property, but is set to recoup at least $90 million. Caesars has agreed to continue operating the property for two years and to pay annualized rent of $45 million. Imperial Companies has the option to pay Caesars $7 million to extend the lease for a third year.
Tony Rodio, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, said, “This deal allows Caesars Entertainment to focus our resources on strengthening our attractive portfolio of recently renovated Strip properties and is expected to result in incremental EBITDA at those properties. The retention of the World Series of Poker and retention of Caesars Rewards customers are all factors that make this a valuable transaction for Caesars.”
The deal allows for co-ownership of Rio-specific guest data and places no restrictions on marketing. Members of Caesars Rewards can still earn loyalty points at the Rio, for at least the next two years.
2020 World Series of Poker Will be at the Rio
The 2020 World Series of Poker (WSOP) will take place at the Rio, according to Seth Palansky. The VitalVegas blog claimed the WSOP was set to move to the Caesars Forum, a $375 million convention center that is set to open in 2020 behind LINQ, The Flamingo and Harrah’s. Palansky poured cold water on those rumors.
Palansky, the WSOP’s Vice President of Corporate Communications, took to Twitter to announce the 2020 WSOP’s home.
“Can 100% confirm WSOP will take place at the Rio in Las Vegas in 2020”, read the tweet.
Palansky Reveals Details in Car Player Interview
Card Player recently interviewed Palansky where he shed some light on the WSOP’s future. When asked how he could state the 2020 WSOP will be held at the Rio with 100 percent certainty, Palansky replied.
“Well I mean, that’s been our home for a long time. I don’t understand why anyone questions that. There have been rumors on the Rio for, I don’t know… I’ve been here 12 years and there have always been rumors that the Rio is being sold. It doesn’t matter. The Rio is our home and that’s where we’ll be. We’re not looking to hold it elsewhere.”
“And people have to understand in the convention business, you have to block out. We need 62 days blocked out to be able to hold the event. It’s not easy to get 200,000 square feet of convention space. You need years in advance to do that. If you were to recall the early days at the Rio when we started there, we were working around other conventions going on at the same time. The World Series of Poker footprint was much smaller.”
“So it’s a big Jenga puzzle, all that stuff. These things are figured out years in advance, so there was never any doubt to us that the WSOP would be at the Rio this year. Just trying to keep the rumor mill from going nuts.”
Palansky revealed contracts are in place for the 2020 WSOP. He also believes it is highly likely Rio will host the 2021 WSOP.
Caesars Involved in a $17.3 Billion Merger
Eldorado Resorts agreed to a $17.3 billion merger with Caesars, putting 60 casinos in 16 states under a single name. The new company will save $500 million, something Caesars needs due to escalating debts. Caesars filed for bankruptcy in 2017 due to massive $25 billion debts.
More deals involving Las Vegas properties are in the pipeline. MGM Resorts is considering offers for MGM Grand and Bellagio. The two iconic Las Vegas casinos are a $7 billion target for Blackstone Group. MGM needs funds to help build a $10 billion resort in Japan where it is vying for a license.
About the Rio
The Rio opened on January 15th, 1990 as a locals casino. It was the first all-suite resort in the Las Vegas, featuring 2,522 rooms with floor to ceiling windows. There are 117,330 square feet of gaming space.
The World Series of Poker has called the Rio home since 2005. Australia’s Joe Hachem won the first Main Event held at the Rio, defeating Steve Dannenmann and winning $7.5 million.