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RENO, Nev. & LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Inside INdiana Business) — A major merger involving several Indiana casinos has received a key antitrust approval. The Federal Trade Commission has accepted a proposed consent order from Eldorado Resorts Inc. (Nasdaq: ERI) and Caesars Entertainment Corp. (Nasdaq: CZR), which the companies say satisfies all required antitrust clearances for the more than $17 billion merger.

Eldorado owns the Tropicana Evansville casino, while Caesars owns the Horseshoe casinos in Hammond and Harrison County, as well as Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in Shelbyville and Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson.

“We are delighted to announce the FTC’s approval of our planned Merger with Caesars, which is expected to create the largest owner and operator of U.S. gaming assets,” Tom Reeg, chief executive officer of Eldorado, said in a news release. “We look forward to completing the Merger, subject to receipt of the remaining consents and approvals from regulators in Nevada, New Jersey and Indiana.”

The deal still requires approval from the Indiana Gaming Commission and the Indiana Horse Racing Commission, as well as the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the Nevada Gaming Commission, and the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.

The merger was first announced in just over a year ago. At that time, Eldorado said if the deal is approved, the combined company will continue to operate under the Caesars name.

The companies did not provide an anticipated time frame for the deal to close.

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) – Online and retail sportsbooks in the Hoosier state ended their first year with generating over $430 million since launching in September. The state’s sportsbooks surpassed $160 million in bets in a month for the first time in December, which was a 10% increase from November, according to PlayIndiana. 

December generated $12 million in adjusted gross revenue, which was a 29% increase from the previous month, which yielded the state $1.1 million in taxes. The $433.4 million in bets and $42.7 million in revenue since September, puts Indiana as the fourth-largest sports betting market in the country. 

“Indiana’s ascent to one of the largest sports betting markets in the country has been impressive by most any measure,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayIndiana. “The question for 2020 is whether Indiana can sustain its rate of expansion, especially as neighboring states become more likely to legalize sports betting. That has already happened in Michigan, which could take a bite out of the handle at some of northern Indiana’s retail sportsbooks.”

Gouker says January should bring even more growth, with the NFL Playoffs continuing and basketball season heating up. Football has accounted for $178.6 million since launch and $59.1 million in bets in December alone. Basketball has totaled $82.2 million overall and $42.3 million in December. 

“With the NFL Playoffs at hand and college basketball in full swing, it is possible that Indiana will surpass $1 billion in bets by March, making Indiana one of the quickest legal U.S. jurisdictions to reach that mark,” Gouker said.

Gouker says the rapid growth in Indiana is due to the state adopting online sports betting prior to other states, like Pennsylvania. The Hoosier state saw $110.6 million of December’s bets made online, which was up nearly 5% from November. DraftKings, which operates under the Ameristar Casino license, led the online market in December after accepting over $66 million in bets, up from $64 million in November. FanDuel/Blue Chip Casino generated $36 million in December, up from $23.7 million in November. 

Indiana’s top retail sportsbook continues to be Horseshoe Hammond, which generated $13.4 million in December, up slightly from November. Those bets produced $1.1 million in gross receipts. 

“Indiana’s strong start is unquestionably tied to the state’s relatively early launch of online sports betting,” Gouker said. “Online sports betting should make up an increasing share of the state’s handle, too. That will help steady Indiana’s sports betting industry, even as increasing competition from neighboring states affect retail sportsbooks, which is inevitable.”

More revenue information can be found here