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Caesars Confirms Sale of Rio to Imperial Companies

Rio in Las Vegas

The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas has officially been sold. According to various reports, Caesars has sold the Rio to a New York-based real estate company for $516.3 million.

Under the terms of the agreement, Caesars will rent the property for at least the next two years. This backs up claims from WSOP officials that the World Series of Poker will take place at the Rio in 2020 and 2021.

Rio Sells for $516.3 Million

After years of rumor and speculation about the status of the Rio, we can confirm that the property has been sold. Caesars sold the Rio to Imperial Companies, a real estate firm based out of New York. Imperial Companies deposited $5 million into an escrow account on Friday for the initial deposit. Now the deal is subject to regulatory approval by the SEC.

The deal is initially a lease-back arrangement for Caesars. Under the deal, Caesars will continue to operate and manage the property for the next two years at a cost of $45 million. Imperial Companies then has an option to extend the lease. If the deal is extended for a third year, Imperial Companies will pay Caesars $7 million.

If the deal goes into the third year, Caesars will either manage the property for that third year or provide transitional services to the purchasing company. The deal is expected to close at some point during the Q1 of 2020.

According to Caesars CEO Thomas Reeg, “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.”

Deal Confirms What Palansky Stated Last Week

Last week, we reported that WSOP VP of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky revealed that the 2020 World Series of Poker will be played at the Rio. He also stated that players can expect the 2021 edition of the event to also play out at the Rio.

That would coincide with the terms of this deal. Under the deal, Caesars will have control of the Rio in both 2020 and 2021. This locked the WSOP into place for at least the next two years.

The future of the WSOP at the Rio is up in the air at this point. If the lease on the Rio is extended for the third year, we can expect the 2022 WSOP to be held at the Rio. What happens after that?

Palansky hinted that the move to the new Caesars Forum was not a viable option because the WSOP was not an extremely profitable venture. Whether he was serious in that statement or it was just a way to distract us while Caesars completes the sale of the Rio is undetermined.

Logically, the best place for the World Series of Poker would be the conference center as it would have the space needed for the event. It would also be able to handle future expansion of the World Series of Poker.

The other option, as has been mentioned in the past, would be to hold it at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Presently, that is the only other property that many feels has the space to accommodate the WSOP.

The problem with that selection is that the property is on the strip and parking for the event would be a bit of a nightmare.

For now, players can rest in the knowledge that they can play at the Rio for the next two years. During that time, we will get a better idea of what WSOP have planned and whether the event will indeed move to the Caesars Forum starting in 2022.

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