US casino operator Caesars Entertainment, Inc. last week purchased a minority interest in Horseshoe Casino Baltimore from a joint venture partner to up its stake in the Maryland-based property to 76%.
The company did not provide financial details about the transaction and did not name the partner it has bought a minority stake from.
With its 122,000-square-foot gaming floor that includes slot machines, table games, and a World Series of Poker room, Horseshoe Baltimore is Maryland’s second largest casino. The property opened doors seven years ago. It cost more than $440 million to build.
There have been speculations that Caesars upping its stake in the gambling venue could be seen as an indication of possible plans for the company to sell its real estate assets to VICI Properties, the real estate investment trust that spun off from Caesars in the fall of 2017 after the company emerged from a long and complex bankruptcy.
However, it is yet to be seen whether a sale is indeed the reason behind the operator’s decision to buy that minority stake in the property.
According to the latest revenue figures released by Maryland regulators, Horseshoe Baltimore was the state’s third highest grossing casino in July. The property generated $19.3 million last month, up 22.5% from July 2020. It trailed behind MGM National Harbor, Maryland’s largest land-based gambling venue, with $72.3 million and Live! Casino & Hotel with $62.9 million.
State Gears Up for Legal Sports Betting
News about Caesars increasing its stake in the Baltimore casino emerged as Maryland has been gearing up for the launch of legal sports betting.
The state legalized the practice this past April, the same month that Arizona made athletic gambling legal. And while the latter state is set to go live with sports betting on September 9 for the start of the new NFL season, it is unknown whether Maryland sports fans will be able to place wagers on NFL games during the regular season.
Late last week, the state published the emergency rules on sports wagering in the Maryland Register. The publication of the 227-page document marked the start of a 30-day public comment period. The state Lottery & Gaming Control Commission has scheduled a meeting for public comments on legal sports betting on September 22.
While the state’s progress on bringing wagering has been slower than what many have expected and hoped, it is clearly making determined strides to regulate and launch the activity and capitalize on its exploding popularity across the nation.
Caesars has already unveiled plans to participate in Maryland’s wagering scene by adding a Caesars Sportsbook at Horseshoe Baltimore. The wagering facility will be located at a spot in the casino complex previously occupied by a Guy Fieri restaurant.
Source: Caesars Entertainment, Inc. Buys Minority Interest from Partner in Horseshoe Baltimore, PR Newswire, August 26, 2021