Is The Rumor About The Rio Closing True This Time?

Bart Shirley April 12, 2019 456 Reads

A recent Tweet has once again claimed that the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino is in the process of being sold. The Tweet also mentions that after the sale, the off-Strip property will be demolished. However, according to an email from top Caesars personnel, the report is false and the Rio remains a property in good standing in the Caesars portfolio.

Twitter user @LasVegasLocally tweeted out the information. The Tweet failed to identify anything about the source of the news.

The official response

I reached out to a World Series of Poker (WSOP) spokesperson at Caesars to find out if the rumor might be true. As expected, the spokesperson declined to comment directly about the Tweet itself.

However, the WSOP representative stated emphatically that the World Series of Poker would take place at the Rio this year. In fact, they went so far as to assert that the Rio will host next year’s edition of the series, too.

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Rio is often target of sale rumors

The spokesperson’s comments mirrored their communications with me in a similar incident last August. In that instance, Vital Vegas reported that the Rio would soon change hands.

Rio has always been one of CIE’s lesser-known properties. Its position off-Strip and lack of memorable theme lends itself to being forgotten in the constellation of Las Vegas casinos. As such, there is often talk of a Rio sale.

The WSOP move changed RIO’s trajectory

However, the Rio is home to the WSOP, and the Series’ 2005 move to the casino was likely a measure to raise the casino’s profile. At that point, Rio shed its reputation as a somewhat nondescript member of the Caesars family.

It became an important property as the home of the world most prestigious poker tournament series. Since the move to the larger casino (from Binion’s), the WSOP has undergone profound and expansive growth.

The hotel was, thus, a sort of oddity for poker players. On the one hand, it was a casino property that did not feature any improvement upon the poker action available along the Strip. So, there was little reason to make the extra effort to visit most of the year.

On the other hand, during the early summer months, it became Mecca for the poker world. Many top poker players and millions of recreational players performed their version of Hajj to compete for the coveted gold bracelets.

Caesars probably hoped that the throngs of players that the Series generated would carry over into the rest of the year. However, the top professionals and, therefore, the rest of the poker world have tended to gravitate towards higher-end properties like Bellagio and Aria most of the time.

Caesars may have bigger fish to fry

Of course, it’s possible that Caesars is not terribly concerned about a Rio sale at this moment. The New York Post reports that the entire company will be for sale within a week or two.

We’ll explore the ramifications and possibilities for a potential sale next week. But, if the reports are true, the last thing that company management would worry about is the divestiture of one of its smaller property assets.

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