Caesars Entertainment touts Las Vegas recovery
By Buck Wargo – SiGMA US Correspondent
A Southern California tribe will become the first native americans to own a Las Vegas casino with the purchase of the Palms Casino Resort for $650 million.
The announcement of the purchase by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians was made on first quarter earnings report day by Palms’ owner Red Rock Resorts and its subsidiary Station Casinos. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
As Red Rock executives touted the recovery of Las Vegas, Caesars Entertainment executives in their earnings call were on the same wavelength looking at the potential in sports betting from acquiring UK betting giant William Hill.
The acquisition of the 700-room Palms just west of the Strip was expected as the facility has been closed since March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tribe already operates the San Manuel Casino in San Bernardino County east of Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, Caesars COO Anthony Carano said its land-based properties achieved 84 per cent occupancy in April and that weekends in Las Vegas are sold out “for the foreseeable future.” Even group bookings for the second half of 2021 are 20 per cent higher than 2019, and he was just as optimistic about regional properties across the US.
“We’re very optimistic regarding the remaining three quarters of the year in Las Vegas and return of group and convention business and entertainment offerings that will drive incremental demand to the market,” Carano said.
Tom Reeg, CEO of Caesars, praised his company’s acquisition of partner William Hill in a $3.7 billion deal. It plans to dispose of William Hill’s assets outside of the US.
“Now we control our own destiny in what I continue to believe is an extraordinarily exciting opportunity for the company,” Reeg said.
Reeg said a combined William Hill and Caesars during the first quarter posted $150 million in revenue. The UK company wasn’t as aggressive in the sports betting industry as Caesars will be, Reeg said.
Reeg said they will rebrand their apps and sportsbooks as Caesars Sports and tie their business into the Caesars Reward database by American football season in September.
“There’s a great deal of correlation between spend and market share at this point,” Reeg said.
"If you look at what our friends at MGM are doing in Michigan in the first quarter, they came from a position where William Hill is to a leadership position in a market where they have a large database.
That gives us a lot of confidence as we move forward. We understand we need to invest in this business on the tech and customer acquisition side, and you should expect a significant shift from us as we close the transaction and move forward.”
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