Caesars Bids Goodbye to Belle of Baton Rouge Casino in Louisiana

The sale of the Louisiana-based hotel-casino is expected to conclude mid-2021
The announcement follows Caesars’ divestment of properties post-Eldorado merger
The Belle will be the third Louisiana property Caesars intends to sell 

aerial view of the Belle of Baton Rouge riverboat hotel-casino in Louisiana

Caesars Entertainment continues its post-Eldorado-merger divestment drive by announcing the sale of the Belle of Baton Rouge riverboat hotel-casino in Louisiana to CQ Holding Company Inc. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Midwest casino operator to buy the Belle

Caesars Entertainment Inc. has announced the sale of the Belle of Baton Rouge riverboat hotel-casino to CQ Holding Company Inc., the Midwest-based business that operates DraftKings at Casino Queen in East St. Louis, Illinois, and Casino Queen Marquette in Iowa.

transaction’s expected date of completion will be mid-2021

Subject to regulatory compliance and other routine closing conditions, the transaction’s expected date of completion will be mid-2021. Financial details of the sale were not disclosed. Under the reworked lease agreement, Wyoming-based real estate e sport bet trust Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. (GLPI) keeps the real estate for the Belle, with rent payments to GLPI remaining unchanged.

The announcement of the sale of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based riverboat on December 1 continues Reno-based Caesars’ ongoing divestment of properties in the wake of its $17.3bn merger with Eldorado Resorts Inc. in July.

Sales in line with merger

Following the merger with Eldorado, regulations demand that Caesars must divest multiple properties across different markets to comply with anti-competitive issues raised by the Federal Trade Commission and state gaming regulators.

Caesars must divest multiple properties across different markets to comply with anti-competitive issues

In the Bayou State, Caesars has a pending deal to sell Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Casino and Racetrack in Bossier City to Rubico Acquisition Corp. for $22m. It is also selling Eldorado Resort Casino Shreveport in Bossier City – along with MontBleu Resort Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada – to hedge-fund investor Soo Kim’s Bally’s Corporation for a combined $155m.

Much further north but still on the same Eldorado merger page, the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) in July instructed Caesars to sell three of its five casinos in the Hoosier State by the end of 2020. The aim was to avoid “undue economic concentration” in the state following the merger. The merged Caesars and Eldorado sold the Tropicana Casino in Evansville in October for $480m to Bally’s Corporation. The company is also in negotiations to sell Caesars Southern Indiana Casino in Elizabeth to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. On November 23, however, the IGC voted unanimously to extend the December 31 sale deadline by a year, giving the uniquely challenging sale of Horseshoe Hammond Casino more time to go through.

Once Caesars completes its three casino sales in Louisiana, it will still operate Harrah’s New Orleans, Horseshoe Bossier City, and Isle of Capri Lake Charles.

Caesars says farewell to the Belle

In a news release, Caesars Entertainment Inc. CEO Tom Reeg thanked Baton Rouge staff for their service under his firm. “We wish them the best under Casino Queen’s ownership,” he added.

Formerly known as the Catfish Queen, the Belle first opened in 1994. Its gaming complex includes close to 800 slot machines and 14 table games. The property, which sits on the Mississippi River next to the historic USS Kidd, includes a ten-story, 280-room hotel, restaurants, a business center, and 30,000-plus square feet of meeting and event space.

Shares of Caesars traded on the Nasdaq at $67.84 in light trading on Tuesday, down 28 cents or 0.41%.

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