Merging in the background.
Caesars Entertainment, proposed by Tilman Fertitta and bought by MGM, made headlines in November. Although neither business has come to fruition, previous mergers and acquisitions dominated the industry in 2018.
Eldorado Resorts, the Reno casino company that gained national attention after purchasing the Isle of Capri in 2017, made significant changes in 2018 with the purchase of the Grand Victoria Casino in Chicago and the purchase of Tropicana Entertainment’s GLPI with in October (GLPI brought the property) , Eldorado operates casinos). The organization has 28 properties in 12 states and territories.
In October, Penn National merged with Pinnacle Entertainment, giving 40 properties in 18 states under Penn’s control. This compares favorably with Caesars Entertainment’s global portfolio of approximately 50 properties. Boyd Gaming bought four casinos, including Valley Forge Casino, which Penn had to sell as part of the Pinnacle acquisition.
Washington is changing.
The resignation of American Gaming Association CEO Geoff Freeman marks the end of a short but fruitful chapter in the organization’s history. Under Freeman’s leadership, the organization expanded its membership to include tribal gaming organizations and smaller service and technology providers. His most obvious achievement was the AGA’s drive to legalize betting (see point 2 above), but he also helped the AGA respond to changing times in many other ways. As the casino industry redefines itself, the appointment of DC insider Bill Miller as CEO could herald new approaches.
These five stories contributed to the 2018 in casino gaming that was 2018. While it’s unclear how they’ll affect the industry in the future, it’s hard to argue that they made 2018 a memorable good or bad year.
Essential Quality is the +275 favorite at this year’s Kentucky Derby betting odds. The undefeated horse has a pair of Grade 1 wins, including a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race in 2020. While this win was significant, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winners have won the Kentucky Derby just twice in 36 starts. Luis Sáez rode to victory in the Essential Quality Breeders Cup and his experience at Churchill Downs should help him.
Sáez and Horse Maximum Security were the winners of the race 22 minutes before the title was stripped due to disqualification. Sáez gets a second chance to win the prize he was able to see before. History favors favorites in this race, so it’s no surprise that many bookmakers have named the biggest risk of the day.
Rock Your World is the second-favourite winner in the race today after a good performance at Santa Anita, and at +475 the three-year-old has seen some late support from punters hoping to upset better odds.