Caesars Southern Indiana Deal Up in the Air
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is considering whether or not it wishes to enter the commercial gaming business.
The tribe has been in talks to purchase Caesars Southern Indiana, and a deal was expected to be made this week.
Instead, the tribal council expressed some concerns over the deal, and many leaders wanted more time before making that decision. Caesars must sell the property in order to complete a deal with Eldorado Resorts Inc, and they were convinced that they had a buyer in place.
The tribal council has proposed using close to $130 million in Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) funds and taking on a debt of close to $160 million. The tribe is currently in a 45-day negotiating period with Caesars entertainment, but the tribal council could be requesting more time to come to a decision.
The initial deadline to complete the deal was set for Monday. The EBCI is looking to expand its presence in the commercial casino industry as it is set to lose millions of dollars in the state of Virginia.
The EBCI has created a monopoly on the gaming industry in Virginia, but that state recently voted to legalize commercial gambling. The EBCI is trying to challenge that decision in court, but it is unlikely that the tribe will receive a favorable decision.
Losing revenue from tribal casinos in the state of Virginia will challenge the standard of living for the EBCI, and they are hoping to make money elsewhere. Indiana and the Caesars Southern Indiana casino would provide a boost, but the tribal council is worried about taking on that much debt to complete the deal.
Online casinos are not legal in the state but talks have been around for a while about the possibility of legalizing online casinos in Indiana.
Risk vs. Reward
Councilmember Dike Sneed is one of the most outspoken against moving forward with the deal, even though he supports the idea of commercial gambling. Taking on more debt is a major risk for the EBCI, but supporters of the deal insist that the potential reward is worth it.
Councilmember Perry Shell pointed to the success of the Seminole Tribe when it decided to enter the commercial gaming industry nearly a decade ago. The Seminole Tribe now operates Hard Rock casinos throughout the United States, and the tribe is set up in a great financial spot moving forward.
The growth of the gaming industry in Indiana is another reason that most council members believe the reward is there. That’s especially when it comes to Indiana sports betting, as the EBCI would be able to obtain a sports betting license if it went through with the purchase of Caesars Southern Indiana.
Caesars is required to have a deal in place by the end of December, according to the Indiana Gaming Commission. The Indiana Gaming Commission has given Caesars an extension to search for a buyer for the Horseshoe Hammond, but a deal is already in place for the Tropicana Evansville.
The next two weeks will be important for both the EBCI and Caesars Entertainment, and it could have a huge impact on the gambling and sports betting industries in Indiana moving forward.
For more sports news and legal sports betting in Indiana, check out more stories on our blog.
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