Caesars boosts stake in Horseshoe Baltimore as Maryland sports betting looms

Casino News

American casino and hotel company, Caesars Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ: CZR) now owns 76 percent of Horseshoe Baltimore after purchasing a minority interest from one of its joint venture partners, which remained unnamed in the operator’s Thursday press release.

The reno-based company has also yet to reveal the financial terms of the deal, which comes as Maryland prepares to launch legal sports betting this fall. HB 940 was signed into law by Gov. Larry Hogan on May 18, 2021, before the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission approved regulations for sports betting on July 15th.

According to the press release, Caesars will “consolidate the results of the property” on the company‘s financial statements.

Property info:

Owner, CBAC Gaming, LLC, an affiliate of Caesars Entertainment, invested $442 million to construct the Russell Street property in 2013. Other members of the casino consortium include Jack Entertainment; CVPR Gaming Holdings, LLC; STRON-MD Limited Partnership; and PRT TWO, LLC.

The two-story casino with a 122,000 square foot gaming floor opening in August 2014 and is the state’s second-largest casino behind MGM National Harbor in Prince George’s County.

Recovery expected:

After in January this year, reporting a gross gaming revenue (GGR) decline of 28.7 percent, with a win totaling $13.75 million, the seven-year-old casino’s gaming revenue totals for June 2021 came in at $17,014,919, a decrease of $1,671,830, or 8.9 percent from pre-pandemic June 2019. Inching upward, in July this year Horseshoe reported gaming revenue of $19.34 million, a swell of 22.4 percent from the same time the year prior and just shy of July 2019’s reported $19.38 million win, according to Maryland Lottery and Gaming.

Managed by Caesars, the casino is expected to recover further in the months ahead, as it will almost certainly benefit from the impending sports betting launch, especially considering Horseshoe’s location near the Baltimore Ravens‘ home field M&T Bank Stadium where the team will play eight of its 17 regular season games this year. The multi-purpose football stadium is also adjacent to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, home of Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles.

The NFL regular season is scheduled to start on September 9, 2021, but it is more than likely that sports betting won’t launch in Maryland until after the season has begun but, hopefully, before the playoffs begin in January.

Award process:

The question on everyone’s mind in the “Old Line State” is when will Marylanders be able to start legally gambling on sports?

To that, Director of Maryland Lottery and Gaming John Martin reportedly said earlier this month…

“Of course, that is the question and we’re just as excited about the beginning of that process as anyone else. But there is a very measured process.”

Included in that process is the issuing of sports wagering licenses, which is the responsibility of the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) created solely for that purpose. Once the SWARC determines who should receive the licenses, those candidates will be vetted by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. If everything is on the up-and-up, the licenses are awarded by the commission with the former serving as the regulators of the sports wagering market in the state.

Maryland’s sports gaming law allows 17 “non-competitive” brick-and-mortar casino locations, including Horseshoe in Baltimore City, to house sports books while up to 30 additional “competitive” licenses can be awarded to physical locations, at a cost of between $50,000 to $2 million. The SWARC can also award up to 60 online or mobile licenses, which run $500,000.

Sports betting landscape:

Upon implementation, Maryland is in line to receive 15 percent of the gross revenue from sports wagering but as of now, there is no timeline for the launch. Live sports gambling has been legalized in Maryland’s border states, including Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia and West Virginia and Washington D.C are reaping the rewards. Meanwhile, Maryland and nine other states have legalized sports betting but have yet to launch.

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