Gaming regulators set Oct. 17 hearing for Harrah’s buyout

Atlantic City – New Jersey gaming regulators have scheduled a hearing next month to consider a USD 17.1 billion buyout of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. by two private equity firms.

Harrah’s Entertainment, the world’s largest gaming company, controls about 40 percent of the Atlantic City market through its ownership of the Harrah’s, Bally’s, Caesars and Showboat casinos.

Pending regulatory approvals in states where Harrah’s operates casinos, private equity firms Apollo Management and Texas Pacific Group will acquire the gaming giant in the casino industry’s largest takeover ever.

The New Jersey Casino Control Commission will consider giving its approval Oct. 17. The commission’s vote is for „interim casino authorization,“ meaning Apollo and Texas Pacific will assume ownership and operation of the Harrah’s casinos in Atlantic City while a final background investigation of the firms is completed, spokeswoman Lisa Spengler said.

Gary Loveman, Harrah’s chairman and chief executive officer, is scheduled to testify at the commission hearing. The commissioners are expected to press for details about plans to refurbish and expand the aging Bally’s and Caesars casinos. Those plans have been delayed by the pending buyout.