Caesars Entertainment Eliminates NeoGames Stake

Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR) is no longer a shareholder in internet lottery operator NeoGames (NASDAQ:NGMS).

Caesars NeoGames
Caesars Palace Las Vegas. The operator sold out of NeoGames. (Image: New York Times)

Earlier this week, the casino giant sold its remaining position in the Israeli company, according to a Form 13D/A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

On March 14, 2022, Caesars consummated a block sale of an aggregate of 2,151,310 Ordinary Shares at $13.19 per share, less discounts and commissions (the ‘Sale’). Following the Sale, Caesars beneficially owns 0 Ordinary Shares,” according to the regulatory document.

Based on the above figures, the Harrah’s operator generated $28.37 million in the transaction, not accounting for broker commissions. Shares of NeoGames finished lower by one percent this week, and the previously high-flying small-cap gaming stock lost nearly half its value year-to-date.

How Caesars Obtained NeoGames Stake

Caesars obtained a 24.5% stake in NeoGames by way of the casino operator’s 2021 purchase of William Hill.

The Flamingo operator revealed that position in an August 2021 SEC filing. At that time, the NeoGames investment was worth $258.44 million — a decent percentage of the $3.69 billion Caesars paid to acquire William Hill. However, the Las Vegas-based gaming company soon made clear it wasn’t going to be a long-term investor in the internet lottery firm.

Last September, a Caesars SEC filing indicated the company planned to trim its NeoGames position by more than half. In modest fashion, the casino operator later further reduced its NeoGames investment prior to the recent announcement that it’s out of the stock altogether.

Hindsight is 20/20, but Caesars would have done well to eliminate all of its NeoGames holdings last September, when the stock was trading in the low $40s. It finished at $14.71 today and hasn’t closed above $40 since last November.

What Comes of NeoGames Proceeds

In the new SEC filing, Caesars doesn’t mention what it will do with cash from the sale of the remainder of its NeoGames equity.

“As of December 31, 2021, Caesars had $14.3 billion in aggregate principal amount of debt outstanding. Total cash and cash equivalents were $1.1 billion, excluding restricted cash of $642 million,” according to the company.

It’s possible some of the proceeds from the NeoGames transaction could be used to reduce that debt burden, which is among the gaming industry’s largest. But $28.37 million is obviously a scant percentage of $14.3 billion.

Even with that massive amount of liabilities, Caesars remains one of Wall Street’s favorite gaming stocks. Some analysts highlight the operator’s cost-cutting initiatives and robust free cash flow prospects, while others note the operator’s iGaming and sports wagering unit is undervalued.

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