Caesars Entertainment Corporation's recent default notice makes its common stock more of a gamble than the crap tables. As written in the article, "This Casino is Playing Russian Roulette," Caesars' large debt load and equivocal transfer of assets have put a bullet into Caesars' shareholders. Foolish investors should tread lightly given the situation unfolding at Caesars, and look at much more solvent competitors like MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming to get exposure to the evolving gaming industry.
Event of default
On June 5, 2014, Caesars Entertainment Operating Company, or CEOC, a majority-owned subsidiary of Caesars, received a default notice from holders of CEOC's outstanding 10% coupon bonds due 2018. Below summarizes the default notice:
1. Transfers by CEOC to another one of Caesars' subsidiaries of the following casinos: The Cromwell, The Quad Resort & Casino, Bally's Las Vegas, and Harrah's New Orleans, which were consummated in May 2014, violated the asset sales covenant. The bondholders believe the transfer of assets is not allowable, claiming that CEOC did not get paid fair market value. Essentially, the bondholders, who are supposed to be protected by collateral of the above casinos, are saying that Caesars cannot transfer the casinos like they did.
2. Caesars denied its obligations of the Notes by stating in its May 6, 2014 8K form that, upon the sale of CEOC's common stock to certain investors, Caesars' guarantee of CEOC's outstanding secured and unsecured notes was automatically released.
If the above points are upheld in court, than the event of default will affect CEOC's senior secured bonds. What's more, the "acceleration" clause, which is typical in bond contracts, would force default under CEOC's other bonds and bank debt. This would force Caesars into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, because CEOC's $16 billion of debt is approximately three-quarters of Caesars' total debt.
Balance sheet woes
Why you response to these "Posers" is a mystery? They add none thing to the conversation. I warned early yesterday that Gentings was going to drop the $450 million dollar bomb! I guess no one believed me. Never the less IF you missed it , after the Sterling Forrest Resorts was showcased, the board hinted at the date. My impression is OCT 15, 2014.
Yep, I'll keep a look out for a guy in jeans,sneakers wearing a vintage Woodstock tee-shirt in search of a seat at a $5.oo table.
Yep, that guy Stuart the tel-commuting board member thought he could put 3 casinos in the Hudson valley region, genuine genius.
This is your BOMB, tape it to your chest. Gentings will offer a $450 million Dollar license fee upfront. He will build a exit $30 million more , add bonus $100 to host and state per year!
They did a good job! Stressed all the right points. I think the all or nothing is a good bet. If you put a casino in Orange, no bank loans we won't build. Lets see if the board can hold back from the $450 million gentings if offering for a Tuxedo fee.
June 30, 2014 was the deadline for would-be casino developers in New York State to complete their project applications for the state's Gaming Facilities Board.
When the day came and went, 17 complete applications were in the hopper; just four will be selected by the Gaming Facilities Board to move ahead.
Of these, two (of nine) proposed for Orange County, in the thick of state park land, are of great concern to the Trail Conference:
Sterling Forest Resort, which would be built on a 238-acre private in-holding at the heart of Sterling Forest State Park in the Town of Tuxedo;
and Caesars New York in the Town of Woodbury, close to Harriman State Park.
The Trail Conference opposes both proposals.
SOUTH BLOOMING GROVE — One of the biggest casino proposals in the Hudson Valley could be shot down over sewage.
The Village of Kiryas Joel has filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court charging that the Village of South Blooming Grove gave guarantees in June to Penn National and The Cordish Companies for sewage capacity for the proposed casino in South Blooming Grove, which the village had no control or power over, according to court documents.
Orange County owns and operates the sewer district for which the village offered to make capacity available for the casino.
Attorney Michael Sterthous, of the Albany law firm Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna, filed the lawsuit, which was entered in court on Aug. 15.
In the suit, Sterthous said South Blooming Grove supported the casino and offered the sewage capacity "in exchange for staggering amounts of financial compensation," which includes a $10 million payment by the casino developers to the village, a $2.25 million payment for the village's public safety department and $1 million in road improvements.
Sterthous and Kiryas Joel cited the village of South Blooming Grove Board's host agreement with the companies over their proposed casino as the basis for the suit. The village board approved the agreement in June.
‘No authority to promise’
In the agreement, the village pledges to "pursue all reasonable efforts to make 260,000 gallons per day of sewer capacity available to the project, at customary rates." The figure of 260,000 gallons per day of sewer capacity is the amount the village believes it has in additional capacity, according to the host agreement.
South Blooming Grove has sent notice to Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus requesting verification of this additional sewage capacity, according to the agreement.
"The village has no authority to provide through sale or otherwise any district wastewater treatment capacity to a casino without a written agreement with the county and a determination by the district that excess capacity exists," wrote Sterthous.
A message left with Orange County Attorney Langdon Chapman was not returned. Village of South Blooming Grove Mayor Robert Jeroloman did not return a message seeking comment.
In return for giving the casino the sewage capacity, the casino developers would be responsible for constructing the sewer service connection infrastructure.
The South Blooming Grove would be responsible for operating the sewage system but would not charge the casino hook-up fees, based on the host agreement.
The 200,000-square foot casino with 3,200 slot machines has been proposed on a 124 acre site on Route 208 in South Blooming Grove near Cassidy Driving Range off exit 130.
The lawsuit comes at a time when the owners of 507 acres in the unincorporated section of the Town of Monroe have petitioned to be annexed into the Village of Kiryas Joel, a develop that also would put pressure on sewer and water capacities.
Overburdened sewer capacity
Kiryas Joel states in the lawsuit that the casino is in "close proximity" to its community and alleges the casino "will overburden the limited sewage treatment capacity" at the Orange County Harriman Wastewater Treatment Plant, "and adversely affect existing members of the Orange County Sewer District," which includes Kiryas Joel.
Kiryas Joel also claims the casino would require "large volumes of water that will adversely affect (its) water resources.
The Village of South Blooming Grove is less than five miles from Kiryas Joel.
The lawsuit alleges that the host agreement approved in June to support the casino violates state environmental laws, since no environmental review was done.
The lack of an environmental review is also at the center of a lawsuit against the town of Tuxedo over its support for a separate casino.
Further, the lawsuit cites objections by the Village of South Blooming Grove board to a water pipeline Kiryas Joel planned to build to connect to the New York City Catskill Aqueduct.
The lawsuit names the village of South Blooming grove, the South Blooming Grove Planning Board and South Blooming Grove Zoning Board of Appeals, in addition to the town of Blooming Grove, Penn National, The Cordish Companies, OCCR Enterprises (the limited liability company proposing the casino for the two gaming companies) and the Orange County Sewer District.
The village and town of South Blooming Grove boards both approved resolutions of support for the casino.
Town of Blooming Grove Supervisor Robert Fromaget said he had no idea why the town was named in the suit, since it centers on actions by the village of South Blooming Grove, which is part of the town.
Fromaget said he and the board agreed to pass a resolution in support of the casino because "we have very few (commercial) ratables." Fromaget said he personally voted against the state referendum allowing casinos in the region