I’ve been seeing an increasing number of posts in various online forums about the Eldorado-Caesars merger, which was announced some months ago now. It seems some are getting antsy and many even believe the merger has already been completed.
The reality is this is all a work in progress, and so there’s a lot of confusion from players who don’t know where things stand. As a way to help those players, out, here’s a look at what’s going on, in FAQ form to make it easier to digest.
Can I use my Caesars Rewards card at Eldorado properties yet?
No. The merger has not been completed yet. So no integration between the two companies’ properties has taken place yet, and won’t begin until the merger is complete.
When is the merger slated to be completed?
Right now the companies are going through an approval process; the federal government, as well as each state where they have casinos, need to sign off on the merger to avoid any complications.
It has long been expected that the merger would be completed sometime in the first half of 2020. Recent sales announcements, such as that of Harrah’s Reno, indicates they may be getting close to the goal of completing the merger, and some are now predicting the acquisition could be finalized by the end of March, although that is not likely given other public statements coming from the company.
Will Caesars Rewards be the program that survives the merger?
Eldorado is taking the Caesars name for the company, and Caesars Rewards for the rewards program. Based on previous comments, it does seem like the existing Caesars Rewards program will be the basis for what exists post-merger.
How long will it take for them to merge systems after that?
This is the largest casino merger to ever take place, so history is hard to use as a judge. But one thing that’s important to note is Eldorado, having been on an acquisition run over the past few years of its own, has not to date merged all of its properties into a unified system. So it’s likely properties will be moved over in batches based on when that system is merged in to Caesars Rewards’ national system. In previous mergers this process has taken up to a year, so players should expect this process to take awhile.
Will many of the Caesars Rewards perks be abandoned once the merger is completed?
Both companies promised things to be business as usual during the merger approval period, and Caesars even rolled out two sub-tiers to Diamond as part of the 2020 Caesars Rewards program. It also launched its normal winter Quest for Rewards national program at the beginning of the year.
Caesars normally rolls out its tier matching program each year in February, after the one month grace period from the previous year has expired. I wrote about that separately, as it has changed significantly from last year in one respect.
If any major changes take place, it’ll be post merger. It’s unlikely 2020 will see any major impacts because of other post-merger steps that have to happen, like systems integrations. Since most of 2020’s program has been announced and confirmed for months, expect that to be seen through before any major changes in 2021. To make changes mid-year would anger a lot of players and risk some of the value the merger brings.
Should I expect to see any changes in comps post merger?
This is a prediction on my part, but I say yes. I have a few reasons for believing this.
- In previous Eldorado acquisitions, comps have been nearly immediately impacted. At Tropicana Atlantic City, many players, including myself, saw a major cut to the comps they were offering from nearly the moment the acquisition by Eldorado was complete.
- Reducing comps can be a way to immediately cut costs, and given the amount of cost savings the combined company is seeking, that could be one avenue. I would expect this more on the Caesars property side than the Eldorado side, given Eldorado has already taken these steps on their side.
- Adding Eldorado players into the Caesars offers database, and the expectation they will prune their combined casino count, means more players competing for less rooms. Already Rio has been sold, and while Caesars will continue to manage it for a couple more years, it will leave the inventory. There’s also rumors that another property will ultimately be sold this year. Reducing room count by that much while adding in a lot more players to their database means they simply won’t need to be as generous to fill their hotels.
- This could have a cascading effect as players seek out other home bases, and other companies could either get more aggressive with comps to woo them, or reduce them if they see their own influx of players. The
- Finally, Caesars has traditionally been more generous with room comps than other extras, at least compared to their competition. But Eldorado may value the hotel revenue differently, and start switching around the comps to what they feel works best for them. This could mean discounted rooms instead of free rooms for some subset of players. Bigger players will still be fine, but those previously on the bubble may find it more challenging to get a comped room.
If you have questions about the merger, feel free to post it in the comments below, and I’ll follow up on these.