This week’s $17.3 billion merger agreement between Eldorado Resorts and Caesars Entertainment Corp. will bring the home of the Harrah’s brand back to Reno, where Bill Harrah launched the iconic gaming company from a small bingo hall on Center Street in 1937.
The Eldorado’s top executive says Harrah’s is staying in Reno for good this time.
The headquarters of Harrah’s has been on the move for nearly 40 years. It moved to Memphis after Harrah’s was acquired by Holiday Inn in 1980. The company moved to Las Vegas in 1999, acquired Caesars six years later and changed its name to Caesars Entertainment.
Thomas Reeg, the chief executive officer of Eldorado Resorts, told gaming industry analysts this week that the wandering days are over for Harrah’s.
“Reno is the home of this company, it’s where it was born and that’s where it’s going to remain,” Reeg said. “It’s really about who’s running (the company). The executives that are running the company are all based in Reno.”
He acknowledged that managers of the newly merged company — it will be the largest casino operator in the United States — are likely to be spending a fair amount of time in Las Vegas. But travel, Reeg said, is not a big deal.
“Reno to Vegas flights are almost like a bus schedule in terms of timing, and it’s 40 minutes,” he told analysts.
Besides, the newly merged company is busy all around the country.
Eldorado operates 26 properties across the United States — including the Eldorado, Silver Legacy and Circus in Reno — and has been growing rapidly. Its revenues topped $2 billion last year, more than a five-fold increase from its sales in 2014.
Caesars operates 34 casinos and resorts.
After the merger, the new company will be known as Caesars Entertainment, but the Eldorado management team will be running the show.
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