What a year so far for NJ and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.This April started off with some major news for the US casino market. One of Wall Street’s most successful investors, Carl Icahn, announced that he had closed a deal to sell Tropicana Entertainment to Eldorado Resort for $ 1.85 billion.
The following Tropicana properties are involved in this sale:
- Tropicana Atlantic City — Atlantic City, NJ
- Belle of Baton Rouge — Baton Rouge, La.
- Lumière Place — St. Louis
- Trop Casino Greenville — Greenville, Miss.
- Tropicana Evansville — Evansville, Ind.
- Tropicana Laughlin — Laughlin, Nev.
- MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa — Stateline, Nev.
- The eighth casino in Aruba
As per the press release note, the company chairman and CEO Gary Carano said “The acquisition of seven Tropicana Entertainment properties will allow Eldorado to enter two new gaming jurisdictions and deliver additional financial and geographic diversity to our operating base. Eldorado Resorts intends to implement our proven strategy of enhancing margins by further improving customer service and the customer experience while focusing on promotion and other spending in all areas of the newly acquired properties.”
Eldorado, which is already a major player in the US casino industry has gone under the radar due to its previous involvement in smaller and regional casinos which will now include Tropicana Entertainment’s seven casino properties. Eldorado Resorts operates more than 24 casinos in 12 states and has included a few huge properties to its portfolio.
Eldorado well-positioned for us online gambling
In addition to increasingits land-based casino footprint, thesale turns Eldorado Resorts in to an important participant in the burgeoning US online casino business.
Eldorado’s properties include casinos in three of the four online betting states:
- Nevada (a total of five casino properties)
- New Jersey (Tropicana)
- Pennsylvania (Lady Luck Nemacolin)
Also in three states that have flirted with online legalization:
- West Virginia (online gambling bills in 2017 and 2018)
- Louisiana (online gambling bill in 2018)
- Mississippi (multiple online gambling bills from 2011-2016)
Eldorado might be well prospered and on the top of the charts, but what we have to know is how Eldorado will approach online betting.
Below are some of the unanswered questions:
- Who will Eldorado partner with in Pennsylvania?
- Will it keep Tropicana’s New Jersey online gaming deal with Gamesys intact?
- With online poker liquidity sharing expected to go live on May 1, will Eldorado launch a Nevada poker site?
It is also in three states with sports betting laws on the books.
As good a guess as any
One option that makes sense would see Eldorado maintain the status quo at Tropicana in Atlantic city and use two platforms that facilitates in Pennsylvania, one for casino and one for poker.
Eldorado will assume control of Tropicana AC’s existing online casino site after the sale is complete.At present, the site is powered by Gamesys. Even though it ranks near the bottom in terms of online casino revenue, it’s very competitive in the market and one of the top online casino platforms in the state.
As such, Eldorado could:
- Continue to be casino-only in NJandmaintain its relationship with Gamesys
- Partner with Gamesys in Pennsylvania for the online casino;
- Propose a deal with PokerStars, or another top-flight online poker operator in Pennsylvania.
Taking into consideration how crowded the market already is and the current poker market size it is questionable how beneficial it would be for Tropicana AC to launch an online poker site in New Jersey at this point in time.
And more, El Dorado’s Lady Luck property in Pennsylvania could be a makes sensible partner for a headliner such as PokerStars.
In that case, PokerStars could share online poker liquidity between Lady Luck/PokerStars in Pennsylvania and Resorts/PokerStars in New Jersey.
If that’s the case, it’s unlikely Eldorado would launch its online poker site in Nevada, where PokerStars has seemed to be blacked balled.
Plenty of other options
The above is just one case.
If Eldorado is thinking of launching in Nevada, I’d expect them to partner with various other online poker providers like 888 Poker, PartyPoker or Pala Poker as it creates a whole host of interesting possibilities.
And of course, there is always an option to remain online-casino-only and choose Gamesys or another platform in Pennsylvania.