Rio Las Vegas Sold to NY Firm
Since 2005, the World Series of Poker has been held annually at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. The modern era of the WSOP has been synonymous with the Rio, but the days of the series at the Rio are numbered.
That’s because Caesars Entertainment, the parent company of the World Series of Poker, has sold the Rio. Announced by numerous sources on Monday, the Rio was sold to Imperial Companies of New York. The sale will see Caesars rent out the property for the next two year, meaning that the World Series of Poker will be moving to a new location by 2022.
Rio Sold for $516.3 Million
Caesars Entertainment has officially sold the Rio in Las Vegas to Imperial Companies of New York pending regulatory approval. The sale of the Rio has been one of the most prominent rumors in Las Vegas for years. The sale was announced on Monday via a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Per the terms of the sale, Caesars Entertainment will receive $516.3 million for the Las Vegas property. However, Caesars will not immediately abandon the casino. Per the terms of the deal, Caesars will rent and operate the property for the next two years at a cost of $45 million per year. Those that like to play blackjack or other games at the casino can continue to do so.
There is an option by Imperial Companies for a third year, but that will require a $7 million payment from the NY company. During the third year, Caesars may provide transitional services to Imperial Companies.
During the lease period by Caesars, it will be business as usual with players still being able to take advantage of Total Rewards. Total Rewards is the player rewards program that rewards players for playing real money casino games. Also, players will be able to continue playing the World Series of Poker at the Rio.
2020 and 2021 WSOP to Play at the Rio
Last week, the poker world was abuzz after Caesars VP of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky revealed that the WSOP will be held at the Rio in 2020. He confirmed that this will happen regardless of any change of ownership with the casino.
During an interview with CardPlayer Magazine, Palansky also said that it was a good bet that the WSOP will return to the Rio in 2021. He said that contracts were in place years in advance and unless the new owner was to void those deals, there would be no reason to expect the series to move.
It is likely that Palansky knew about the sale prior to this interview, allowing him to make such bold statements. Since Caesars is going to be leasing the casino through 2021, there is no reason to believe that the series will play anywhere else.
However, since the third year is an option year, there is a solid chance that we will see the largest poker event in the world move in 2022. Fortunately, this will have no impact on WSOP.com, the only legal online casino in Nevada.
Where Will the WSOP Move To?
With a move in the near future for the WSOP, the question becomes where the property will move to. The most likely option will be the new Caesar’s Forum. The Caesar’s Forum Convention Center is a 300,000 sq. ft facility that will feature two of the largest ballrooms in the world, giving more than enough space for the World Series of Poker.
Palansky hinted during his interview with CardPlayer that Caesar’s Forum may not be a good fit because there are other conventions and events that can bring in more money. If the Forum is not an option, the other likely alternative is Caesar’s Palace on the Las Vegas Strip.
Caesar’s Palace is the only other Caesar’s property in Las Vegas that could host the entire event. However, concerns over logistics and parking could force WSOP officials to look elsewhere.
Fortunately, the WSOP has a home for a couple more years, giving them ample time to get this situation sorted. We will keep you informed on any developments on the future home of the World Series of Poker.