Mississippi casino purchase axed over antitrust issues

Lady Luck Casino in Vicksburg, MS was eyed for purchase by Churchill Downs.  The casino is currently owned by Eldorado Resorts out of Reno, NV, and was part of a package deal that would have also seen Churchill Downs pick up the Erie, PA-based Presque Isle Downs & Casino.  However, lady luck wasn't on the side of Churchill Downs, and it now won't be able to complete the purchase as originally planned. 

Concerns over antitrust issues resulted in the deal being pulled.  Churchill Downs, which was going to spend $51 million on Lady Luck, already owns the Riverwalk Casino Hotel in Vicksburg and would have held 50% of the market if the deal had been approved. 

The Presque Isle sale, said to be worth $179 million, will still go through, at least for now.  Instead of Lady Luck in Vicksburg, Churchill Downs will attempt to purchase Lady Luck Nemacolin, which is located in Farmington, PA.  That deal is worth only $100,000, but Churchill Downs will still have to pay Eldorado a termination fee worth $5 million. 

The purchase deal began in February of this year when Eldorado agreed to sell the two properties to Churchill Downs for $230 million.  The new deal is worth only $184 million to Eldorado, which, if the sale is approved, will help to offset the costs of the $968 million it spent in April purchasing assets of Tropicana Entertainment out of Nevada and the Grand Victoria Casino in Illinois. 

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