The company has entered into a definitive agreement to sell the Baton Rouge, Louisiana gambling venue to CQ Holding Company, Inc. (Casino Queen) for an undisclosed amount.
Caesars had a 15-year lease agreement with real estate investment trust Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI) for the riverboat casino. Caesars said Tuesday that under the terms of an amended lease agreement with GLPI, the Baton Rouge facility would be removed from the GLPI Master Lease, and the rent payments to the REIT would remain unchanged.
GLPI would remain the owner of the land and buildings associated with Belle of Baton Rouge after the transaction closes, it also became known.
The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close in mid-2021.
Caesars CEO Tom Reeg thanked their Baton Rouge team members “for their hard work and dedication”, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, and wished them “them the best under Casino Queen’s ownership.”
A Troubled Property
Caesars’ predecessor, Eldorado Resorts, and GLPI purchased Belle of Baton Rouge in October 2018 as part of a larger $1.85 billion deal for the acquisition of the entire Tropicana Entertainment estate.
Eldorado took over the old Caesars this past July to combine its entire portfolio of assets with that of Caesars.
Eldorado and Caesars’ combination secured approval from Louisiana regulators in January. However, Eldorado received some serious criticism over the state of its Belle of Baton Rouge property back then.
During a regulatory hearing on the Eldorado-Caesars tie-up, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board asked Mr. Reeg, who was at the time CEO of Eldorado, whether the combined group would be up to the task to “make sure that you spread the attention to all the properties in all the states in which you operate.”
The regulator’s Chairman at the time, Ronnie Jones, also noted at that hearing that the state of Belle of Baton Rouge was unacceptable and that he could not permit the property to “get lost in the weeds” on his watch.
Mr. Reeg told regulators that they were looking to bring Belle of Baton Rouge on shore and into a nearby atrium that was once occupied by a failed shopping mall.
It is still unclear what plans the property’s new owners have for its future.
Caesars is in the process of selling two more of its Louisiana properties. In September, the company announced that it would unload Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Casino, Racing & Entertainment from its portfolio. Rubico Acquisition Corp. has agreed to purchase the Bossier City racing and casino complex for $22 million.
In addition, Caesars is set to sell Eldorado Resort Casino in Shreveport to Bally’s Corporation (formerly Twin River Worldwide Holdings).
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