FTC Approves Penn National, Pinnacle Merger

The two companies must divest themselves of some assets, including Belterra Casino Resort & Spa in Switzerland County.

(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) - Regulatory approval has been given allowing Penn National Gaming to buyout Pinnacle Entertainment for $2.8 billion.

Why should southeastern Indiana care? Because Penn National Gaming owns Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg. Pinnacle Entertainment owns Belterra Casino Resort & Spa in Switzerland County.

The deal announced late last year received approval from the Federal Trade Commission on Monday.

The transaction is pending a third company, Boyd Gaming Corporation, acquiring Belterra Casino and other Pinnacle properties in Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Kansas City in order to avoid antitrust concerns in those markets. The Indiana Gaming Commission approved that $575 million deal in July.

The FTC called the Penn and Pinnacle “close and vigorous competitors” in the three Midwest markets:

“In St. Louis, the acquisition would reduce the number of competitors from four to three, resulting in a highly concentrated market with just two properties that would compete with Penn, only one of which has a casino that provides significant competition. In both Kansas City and Cincinnati, the acquisition would reduce the number of competitors from five to four and would substantially increase concentration levels.”

Under an settlement with the FTC, Penn and Pinnacle must divest the assets to Boyd Gaming Company within 10 days of the acquisition closing.

Once the acquisition is complete, Penn National Gaming, headquartered in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, will become the largest U.S. regional gaming operator with 41 properties, most under the “Hollywood” brand.

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