Grabbing a solid name

Twin River Worldwide Holdings announced on Wednesday that it has acquired the Bally’s brand from Caesars Entertainment for $20 million. It has not purchased any property from Caesars, just the brand name.

Caesars still owns Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, but will not have to rename it. As part of the deal, it will be permitted to continue to use the Bally’s name for that property.

The purchase accomplished a couple things for Twin River. First, it allows the company to keep the Bally’s name for the Atlantic City casino that it is in the process of acquiring. Second, it will proceed to rebrand “virtually” all of its other properties with the Bally’s brand and logo.

Twin River owns and manages nine casinos: two in Rhode Island, two in Mississippi, one in Missouri, one in Delaware, and three in Colorado. It also owns a horse racetrack in Colorado.

Bally’s was already going to be in the family

As mentioned, it should also soon own Bally’s Atlantic City. It agreed to buy the casino from Caesars and VICI Properties, the real estate trust that was spun off from Caesars in 2017, for $25 million in late April. VICI gets $19 million of that sum, while Caesars gets the rest. The sale has not closed yet, but it is expected to late this year or early next year.

The sale of Bally’s Atlantic City came three months ahead of Caesars’ mega $17.3 billion merger with Eldorado Resorts this summer. To satisfy gaming regulators in some states, Caesars and Eldorado had to sell off properties so as not to dominate the markets. This was not the case in New Jersey, where even without Bally’s, the new Caesars still operates Tropicana, Harrah’s, and its namesake, Caesars. The New Jersey Casino Control Commission did require Caesars to invest $400 million in the three casinos over the course of three years.

Bally’s could still factor into Caesars’ future plans. If the acquisition by Twin River falls through, Caesars would be required to plow another $125 million into it. One would assume that Twin River would also allow Caesars to keep the Bally’s name for the Atlantic City casino, but nothing was mentioned about that in Wednesday’s announcement, likely because there is every expectation that the deal will close.

Twin River uses a variety of brand names for its properties right now, including Hard Rock, Twin River, Tiverton, Dover Downs, and a host of “Golden” names: Golden Mardi Gras, Golden Gates, and Golden Gulch. The company did not specify which of its casinos will not take the Bally’s name, considering it said “virtually” all of them will, but standardizing names is probably a smart move, helping brand recognition. It’s a strong brand, as well. If I had to guess, I’d say Hard Rock Biloxi will keep its name.

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