Rio Casino sold for $516.3 million

The legendary casino goes to New-York based real estate firm, Imperial Companies.

What only was a rumor until today is now becoming reality: the Caesars Entertainment sells Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to Imperial Companies. The purchase was announced in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Monday.

Imperial Companies is a real estate investment, development, and management platform, founded by Eric Birnbaum and Michael Fascitelli in 2014. They primarily focus on mixed-use, residential, hospitality assets.

The sale should be closed before the planned merger of Caesars and Eldorado, which is expected to go down in Spring 2020.

“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 (cash flow) at those properties,” CEO of Caesars Entertainment Tony Rodio said in a statement.

According to the deal, the Caesars will operate the casino for at least two years for $45 million per year. “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,” Rodio added.

According to this part of the statement, Caesars will continue to run the WSOP.  WSOP Vice President of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky also confirmed this: "Caesars will continue to operate Rio for at least two years, and will remain part of the Caesars Rewards network during this period.

Additionally, WSOP will be hosted at Rio in 2020. While hosting rights to WSOP will remain with Caesars, there are no answers to other future-looking questions related to Rio or WSOP."

Gaming analysts hailed the deal, including David Katz, who expressed his opinion on the deal in a research note: "[the deal] should reduce leverage and exposure to the Las Vegas market, both of which are stated goals of Eldorado”