Caesars sells Rio, home of WSOP

Rio sold! After years of rumors, Caesars Entertainment Corporation sold the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino this week.

According to a release issued by Caesars on Monday September 23, the Rio is being sold to a “company controlled by a principal of Imperial Companies.” The reported price tag for the Rio was $516.3 million.

Also under the terms of the sale, Caesars will continue to operate the Rio for the next two years, with an option to extend that arrangement for a third year. Caesars will pay $45 million for the first two years of the agreement, and the third year “at similar terms” if extended.

Why was Rio sold? 

“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 EBITDA at those properties,” Tony Rodio, CEO of Caesars Entertainment said in the release.

“The retention of the World Series of Poker and retention of Caesars Rewards customers are all factors that make this a valuable transaction for Caesars.”

The biggest question coming out of the deal is the future of the World Series of Poker, which has called the Rio home since 2005. VP of corporate communications for the WSOP Seth Palansky confirmed on Twitter last week (before the sale was announced) that the WSOP would remain at the Rio in 2020.

Palansky’s exact tweet was “Can 100% confirm @WSOP will take place at the Rio in Las Vegas in 2020. Beyond 2020 is anyone’s guess.”

Since Caesars will continue to operate the Rio for at least the next two years most expect the WSOP will also stay there. Once Caesars completely lets go of the Rio then the WSOP could be on the move.

For years, there has been speculation that the WSOP would one day move to the Caesars Forum, a massive conference center, which is scheduled to open in spring 2020. The sale of the Rio could be the first real step toward this happening as early as 2021.