3 US Casino Companies Bid on Casino Niagara and Fallsview
Caesars Entertainment, Mohegan Sun, and Hard Rock International are in a bidding war for two Niagara Falls gaming venues, Casino Niagara and Fallsview, which were put up for auction by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Group (OLG) in April 2017. Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino are Canadian casinos across the US-Canada border, which cuts through the Niagara Falls area.
The two leading Canadian casino giants one might expect to bid on such casinos, the Great Canadian Gaming Corp. and Gateway Casinos & Entertainment, chose not to get involved in the bidding. Caesars Entertainment is one of the big four Las Vegas Strip giants, while Mohegan Sun and Hard Rock International (Seminoles of Florida) are owned by two of the largest Native American tribal casino groups. Bidding should be competitive and pricey.
Caesars Entertainment and Hard Rock International are making aggressive bids. Both companies have large casino networks throughout the United States, so they can parlay their massive North American customer tracking systems to increase traffic to the Niagara Falls casinos. Such player databases can be used to market to an ever-expanding customer base, which are considered valuable in their own right.
How Casino Clubs Work
When the Atlantic Club closed in Atlantic City in 2014, Caesars and Tropicana combined to buy the shuttered casino. Tropicana collected much of the Atlantic Club’s gaming equipment, while Caesars bought the building and the player database. With such information, casino companies can offer marketing packages to high rollers.
Such people frequent Las Vegas Strip casinos or resorts along the eastern seaboard, but might enjoy a change-of-pace holiday at Niagara Falls — along with well-comped high-dollar gambling sessions.
Hard Rock and Caesars
Both Caesars and Hard Rock are active in the American northeastern region. Caesars owns three Atlantic City casinos, while Hard Rock International bought Trump Taj Mahal in 2017 and just completed a $500 million renovation that culminated in the opening of the Hard Rock Atlantic City on June 28.
Caesars Entertainment owns 47 casino properties worldwide, including Caesars Palace and the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, as well as Caesars Toronto. Caesars Entertainment also owns the Harrah’s and Bally’s casino brands, so the many Harrah’s Casinos and Bally Casinos around the world are part of its network.
Caesars is big enough that it has branched into other areas. For instance, Caesars Interactive owned the Playtika social gaming site until the bankruptcy of its CEOC division required it to sell Playtika to a Chinese company. Caesars currently is working on two non-gaming hotel-resorts in the United Arab Emirates.
Hard Rock International
Hard Rock International owns and operates 15 facilities in 11 countries. The company is owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which itself owns 7 casinos in Florida (a part of its casino monopoly in the Sunshine State).
Hard Rock International also owns the Hard Rock Atlantic City, which reopened on June 28 after being closed for a year and a half. Previously, the Hard Rock AC was the Trump Taj Mahal, but former owner Carl Icahn sold the casino to Hard Rock for $200 million. Hard Rock spent $500 million and a year to renovate the operation, then rebranded it.
A few Hard Rock casinos around the world, including Hard Rock Casino Las Vegas, are not owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Those operations buy a license to use the “Hard Rock Cafe” brand and logo.
Mohegan Sun Casino Network
Mohegan Sun traditionally has been more of a regional casino company. The Connecticut-based tribal casino authority has operations in New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. It also manages Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, so Mohegan Sun has its own customer database targeting the American northeast. Mohegan Sun has been building a larger national network in the past few years, as it manages a casino operation in Washington state and has business interests in Oklahoma.
The Mohegan Tribe owns one of the world’s largest casinos: Mohegan Sun. The resort is a massive 1,600-room hotel and casino complex in New England. Mohegan Sun also owns and operates professional basketball and lacrosse teams.
All three companies have tremendous resources to buy up land-based casinos such as Fallsview and Casino Niagara. Each should spend big cash to renovate or expand the existing casinos, turning them into first-rate destination resorts in the New York/Ontario region. Now it is a matter of which company or companies wins the auction.